It's being speculated by @hammyhockey and Gopher Puck Live that Minnesota defenseman Aaron Ness has decided to leave after his junior season at Minnesota to sign a pro contract with the New York Islanders which selected him in the second round of the NHL Draft.
After winning the Minnesota Mr. Hockey Award and coming to Minnesota with pocket full of hype, Ness has never progressed to the point of being an impact player in the WCHA. In three seasons at Minnesota, the player that came in known for his offensive play has 46 points in 111 games.
Ryan Cardinal, a writer for the Gopher Puck Live website said it best. "In the end he turned into another Minnesota player that excelled at neither end of the ice and wasn’t big enough to make a physical impact."
Ness is the first departure from the WCHA this season but this is sure to only be the start. The WCHA has been hammered with early departures over the past few seasons so you can expect more underclassmen to sign.
Update: Neil Sheehy, who is the "family advisor" for Ness spoke with @QuickFacts tonight and said this about the situation. "There have been no contract discussions between Ness & the Islanders."
Someone has some explaining to do...
WCHA Early Departure Tracker:
Aaron Ness-University of Minnesota
Jake Gardiner-University of Wisconsin
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