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Oshie leaving Sioux

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GRAND FORKS, N.D. - One of the most electrifying players in college hockey is on his way to the NHL.

As expected, University of North Dakota junior T.J. Oshie signed a three-year deal with the St. Louis Blues today, giving up his final year of college eligibility.

Oshie, who declined to sign with the Blues last summer, could make as much as $850,000 annually with an $85,000 signing bonus. Incentives could put his contract over $1 million annually.

After starring at Warroad (Minn.) High School for three years, St. Louis selected Oshie in the first round (24th overall) of the 2005 NHL draft. Oshie then spent the next three years at UND, where he tallied 142 points in 129 games.

Oshie was one of 10 Hobey Baker Memorial Award finalists as a junior and was named a first-team All-American by the American Hockey Coaches Association.

The signing marks the ninth straight offseason that UND has lost a player early to the pros. Last summer, forward Jonathan Toews signed with the Chicago Blackhawks and defenseman Brian Lee signed with the Ottawa Senators.

Oshie is the ninth Western Collegiate Hockey Association player to leave school early so far this offseason, and UND is the eighth team to lose someone early.

Oshie joins Kyle Turris (Wisconsin), Jeff Frazee (Minnesota), Blake Wheeler (Minnesota), Michael-Lee Teslak (Michigan Tech), Chris Butler (Denver), Andreas Nodl (St. Cloud State), Jason Garrison (Minnesota-Duluth) and Jon Kalinski (MSU-Mankato) on the early departure list.

UND is still awaiting word from juniors Taylor Chorney, Joe Finley, Ryan Duncan and Andrew Kozek.

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It's really sad what has happened to college hockey in the last few years. All of the WCHA players that are exiting are good players, but not great. I'd say that Oshie was aruably the best among them, but still. The WCHA and the NHL both lose in the end.

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So when did Frazee leave? I didn't hear anything about that? not that I'm sad he's leaving or anything.... whistle

It is pretty sad that college hockey is just a farm team for the NHL now. If you made everyone who decided to play college hockey stay all four years, they'd all go play juniors until they're ready. I don't know if there's really anything anyone can do about the players leaving. As much as I'd like them to stay for four, you can't force them without dealing with a major fallout.

I do think, however, if players keep leaving to go pro at the pace they're going right now, college hockey is going to face a major crisis.

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It was alot of fun playing against, watching Oshie in HS and in a Sioux jersey. We'll see how the Sioux will do next season, I would think Chorney, Finley and maybe Duncan will follow. Gophers will have some skill players coming in.

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I'd be surprised if Duncan stays, especially since toews and oshie left. finley is overrated. I think genoway has way more potential and talent than finley, he's insanely fast on his skates. the only reason the NHL likes finley is because he is a sasquatch that can goon it up real good.

the gophers will have an interesting frosh class next year. It will be interesting to see what the blueline will look like with ness and fairchild. The question is whether or not kangas will continue where he left off. I still have major concerns over their offense though. barriball was a complete bummer last season. Having Stoa will help, but it won't be enough, especially with wheeler gone. Maybe with peltier gone, the gophs can finally be able to break the puck out of their zone cleanly and get some decent scoring rushes. Oh wait, RJ anderson is still back there, so forget it whistle I think the gophers have a better chance next season to make the frozen four, but I'm not holding my breath. might be another middle of the pack year.

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