Haula Is Fifth Gopher To Leave Early

Erik Haula has signed a two-year contract with the Minnesota Wild, giving up his final year of college eligibility.

Haula is the fifth Gopher player to turn pro early this offseason, including four of the team’s top five scorers.

The former Shattuck-St. Mary’s product from Finland led Minnesota in scoring the past two seasons, tallying 49 points as a sophomore and 51 as a junior.


Denver (2)
Scott Mayfield, so, D, New York Islanders
Juho Olkinuora, so, G, Winnipeg Jets

Minnesota Duluth (1)
Chris Casto, so, D, Boston Bruins

Nebraska Omaha (1)
Andrej Sustr, jr, D, Tampa Bay Lightning

North Dakota (1)
Derek Forbort, jr, D, Los Angeles Kings

Western Michigan (1)
Danny DeKeyser, jr, D, Detroit Red Wings


Michigan (2)
Jacob Trouba, fr, D, Winnipeg Jets
Jon Merrill, jr, D, New Jersey Devils

Minnesota (5)
Nate Schmidt, jr, D, Washington Capitals
Zach Budish, jr, F, Nashville Predators
Nick Bjugstad, jr, F, Florida Panthers
Mark Alt, jr, D, Philadelphia Flyers
Erik Haula, jr, F, Minnesota Wild

Ohio State (1)
Chris Crane, jr, F, San Jose Sharks

28 Responses

    1. Sara

      His contract doesn’t start until next season. He’s on an ATO with Houston for the remainder of the season.

  1. Sioux Fan 3.0

    Very good player but no chance he gets up to the big show. Not as deep as the wild r anyway. 2 cents

  2. Paul Cline

    MN is in for a serious grow year next year. What is the largest number of UND players to leave in a single off season

      1. Viking1

        Didnt 10-11 leave from the 81-82 National champ team? Dont know how many were immediate signee’s after the season, but am rememberng Sykes, Jensen, Patrick, Murray. Casey, Zombo, Ludwig, Eads, Archibald, Tippett, Dachyshyn, & Brennan all signed eventually. Still remember how intmidating it was to see all of that talent assembled on the opposite side of the ice….

    1. Onesioux

      I don’t know, even with all these departures they’ll still be playing in the B1GMistake conference, so they should do OK I’d think.
      Crazy off season and its only been a week.

  3. Stone

    Yeah but do the Gophers return players like Toews, Oshie, Duncan, Chris Porter, and JP Lamoreux? Just sayin

  4. ndjetsfan

    I’m surprised he would leave school with only a 2 year deal from the Wild. Don’t most guys with NCAA eligibility hold out for 3 year deals? Also, we will see his true NHL value when his signing bonuses become public. If the Wild have over $300K guaranteed to him over the next 2 years, they must think he will have value in the NHL.

    1. Entry-level contracts are set by your age. If you are 18-21, it is an automatic 3-year deal. If you are 22-23, it is an automatic 2-year deal. If you are 24, it is an automatic 1-year deal. Haula is 22, so the only possibility is a 2-year deal.

  5. Maple Grove Sioux

    On an off-season related note, we usually hear about the raft of injuries the team was playing with once the season ended. I know we all thought the team was pretty healthy in the stretch run but is the lack of info on unknown injuries just another indication or are we likely to hear more?

    1. ndjetsfan

      The injury I’m most curious about is what happened to Gothberg in Grand Rapids. What got hurt and how did it get hurt?

  6. none

    I think that they will be just fine. These guys were expected to leave early. Reloaded Kloos and Cammarata are going to be the real deal right away.

  7. RB

    Even with the departures, the Gophers should still have enough to win the Big Ten. There will be an abundance of forwards (incoming recruits of Cammarata, Kloos, Guertler, Fasching) and a guy who was expected to see nice ice time this season (C. Reilly).

    Defense will be the issue. Even if Schmidt and Alt had stayed, they were only carrying 7 and not bringing anyone in. Down to 5 you’ll likely see Brodzinski and Bischoff join the team this fall.

  8. StuckDownSouth

    i know that guys of this talent level go to school to try and make their way to the show, but to me this screams of the difference between UND and the U. The goofs lost on a bad goal one game shy of making frozen 4. if these new guys coming up are going to be this good the U would be real tough to mess with next year if they all stayed. the big 10 is going to make things interesting. any thoughts on if that played any part in them leaving? if it was still wcha give it one last run?

    1. RB

      Yes, they’d be loaded up front if guys like Haula, Bjugstad, and Budish stayed, but then again the reason Lucia was bringing in 4 forwards was because of the planned departures. He had a pretty good idea of who would be leaving (everyone in the Gopher camp expected Bjugstad to leave after this season and Haula wasn’t exactly a suprise). Budish was somewhat of a surprise, but when you consider the fact that he was done as an undergrad, not so much.

      As the year went on and Schmidt continued to perform well, the writing was on the wall for him to leave. As a free agent, if anyone dangled a decent enough offer, he was gone.

      Mark Alt surprised me a bit.

      With or without the conference changes next year, all these guys still leave.

  9. Deaner

    MN has one of more loaded forward classes coming in next season. They’ll definitely be a smaller, faster team potentially more offensively lethal by the end of the year. D is where they will have issues. Then again Wilcox was a stud for them last year so who knows he may carry them on the back end. As much as a cheer against MN I would rather they not have lost this many players. Ruins the sport I love most.

    1. RB

      Yep, D is going to be the big question for next season. The success, or lack thereof, is going to really depend on the development of guys like Reilly and Skjei.

      I had mentioned Brodzinski and Bischoff earlier, but it will be Vannelli (who is definite) and likely Brodzinski who will be brought in earlier than planned on D.

  10. Siouxfan7inDenver

    Brad, Not to change subject, but word out of Denver is that local product Gage Ausmus has de-comitted from DU in the wake of Gwoz being let go…do you have any insight if it can be confirmed? if yes, is UND in the mix now?

  11. Sioux-per-man

    Who cares who the Gophers have coming in? Lucia is to affraid to play the Sioux, he doen’s want to have a loss on his non conference games. We won’t get a chance to play them until the NCAA tournament. If they even get in, yes they will have a week conference, but they still have to beat Wisconsin & Michigan.

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