‘Hawks land another college prospect, sign Hobey Baker finalist Kero

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Chicago has signed Michigan Tech forward and WCHA Player of the Year Tanner Kero to a two-year contract, the club announced on Thursday.

Kero, 22, is an undrafted free agent that spent the last four years with the Huskies, scoring 111 points in 153 career NCAA contests. This year, he scored 20 goals and 46 points in 41 games and was named one of the country’s 10 finalists for the Hobey Baker Award, becoming just the third player in school history to earn that distinction.

Kero signing with Chicago is noteworthy. The ‘Hawks have had issues with acquiring/retaining prospects, thanks largely to their depth at the NHL level; the most high-profile example was 2010 first-round pick Kevin Hayes, who played out his four full years at Boston College before balking at signing with the ‘Hawks, becoming a UFA, and inking with the Rangers.

That trend now appears to be a thing of the past. Last week, Chicago beat out a host of other teams to sign Colgate’s Kyle Baun — another undrafted free agent — and, a day later, came to terms with University of Vermont d-man Michael Paliotta, who was drafted by the ‘Hawks in 2011 but rumored to be eyeing unrestricted free agency.