After locking up top prospects Jonas Brodin, Johan Larsson, Zack Phillips, Brett Bulmer and Charlie Coyle over the last twelve months, the Minnesota Wild have added another Tuesday in Jason Zucker.
The 20-year-old is expected to join the Wild on Thursday as the team hosts the Florida Panthers at Xcel Energy Center. Minnesota selected Zucker in the second round (59th overall) of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. He leaves the University of Denver after his sophomore year.
"After two successful seasons at the University of Denver, Jason, his representation, and Wild management have agreed that it was the right time for Jason to turn pro," Wild Assistant General Manager Brent Flahr said. "He has achieved great personal success in a short period of time at both the collegiate and national team levels
The sophomore gives up his final two years of college eligibility by turning professional. His contract is structured so that Jason will burn the first year of a three-year entry-level contract this year rather than beginning at the start of the 2012-2013 season.
According to Michael Russo of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the deal is worth a $70,000 signing bonus for this season and he'll make the maximum 900K if he's in the NHL each of the next two seasons.
Zucker finished this season with 22 goals and 24 assists in 38 games, an improvement over a freshman yearthat saw him named the WCHA Rookie of the Year. Jason also captained Team USA in the 2012 World Junior Hockey Championships. He's available because the Pioneers were eliminated Friday by Ferris State in the first round of the NCAA Hockey Tournament.
Zucker's deal leaves 2010 first round pick Mikael Granlund as the last major unsigned Minnesota Wild prospect.