2014 Pulitzer Prize Winner

Seventh NCHC player leaves early for pros

Published: May 7, 2014, 1:13 pm, by Joe Paisley

UND Grimaldi actionNorth Dakota redshirt sophomore forward Rocco Grimaldi, 21, signed a three-year deal with the Florida Panthers, giving up his final two years of college eligibility.

The NCAA Midwest Regional MVP led UND with 17 goals and 22 assists this past season.

“We are very pleased to have reached a contract agreement with Rocco,” Florida general manager Dale Tallon said in a press release. “He is a hard working forward who possesses speed along with great vision on the ice. We look forward to his continued growth and development within our organization.”

He is the seventh to leave an NCHC school early, joining Nebraska-Omaha junior forward Josh Archibald (43 points, 29 goals), AHL Penguins, SCSU junior goalie Ryan Faragher (20-9-4, 2.79 gaa, .905 saves), Anaheim; Duluth junior Caleb Herbert (31, 19 points), Capitals; ) UNO junior defenseman Jaycob Megna (10, 10 assists), Ducks; Western Michigan junior defenseman Jordan Oesterle (17, 15 assists), Oilers;  and CC freshman defenseman Gustav Olofsson (eight, four goals), Minnesota.

In all, 26 college players have left early this offseason.