College hockey apparently isn’t immune to defections during the season as it seems. After an off-season that saw numerous NCAA hockey players leave college early to sign entry-level deals with the NHL teams that drafted them, college hockey takes another blow to their ego. University of Minnesota-Duluth star Dylan Olsen is giving up college halfway into the season to sign his three-year entry-level deal with the Chicago Blackhawks.
This season for UMD, Olsen has been a stud. The 6’2″ 206-pound defenseman had one goal and 12 assists this season for the Bulldogs and is a member of Team Canada’s World Junior Championships squad. Olsen is 20 years-old and rather than end up playing in Canadian juniors, he’ll head to Rockford in the AHL to join fellow college defectors Nick Leddy and Brandon Pirri. Chicago’s done as much to hurt college hockey in the past year as any team in recent memory signing away three premiere players at the NCAA level.
Chicago’s severe lack of depth in the AHL was apparent before the season began and they had to fill ranks somehow. Doing it with top draft picks isn’t a big surprise, but doing so so soon after drafting them is a different and dangerous thing as far as college hockey is concerned. For the Blackhawks though, adding another highly talented young defenseman to their depth right now is a big deal. With Olsen and Leddy now waiting in the wings, the days of Jordan Hendry and Nick Boynton holding down top six jobs on the blue line are in jeopardy down the line.