Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Rarely seen -- NCAA prospect signs pro contract mid-season

As noted by the very underrated Kevin Allen at USAToday, Kyle Okposo is leaving the Univ. of Minnesota to sign with the NY Islanders, who drafted him sixth overall in 2006. He'll play in the WJC for Team USA and then turn pro.

This is something you almost never seen happen. NCAA players lose their eligibility by even having an agent (so they call their unpaid agents "family advisors" -- OK), so this stuff is very risky. And it's considered poor form for NHL clubs to take players out of school mid-year because there are no real call-ups in college hockey. They have a few spares and might be able to pull a future recruit out of the USHL mid-year, but other than that, you're looking at walk-ons. Now, a walk-on at Univ. of Minnesota might be pretty good, it being the State of Hockey and all. But still, it's rare a guy leaves mid-year, so it's interesting. Apparently Okposo was having an off year so far, and this may have been the best change of scenery option.

Okposo is a fantastic player, by the way. I've watched him on TV several times and he's going to do great in the NHL.

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