UND has now lost 17 players due to early pro signings in the decade under coach Dave Hakstol. Here’s a look at how many games they’ve played in each league.
Regular season totals
Rocco Grimaldi — TBD
Derek Forbort — 0 NHL, 80 AHL
Brock Nelson — 72 NHL, 71 AHL
Aaron Dell — 0 NHL, 6 AHL, 29 ECHL, 44 CHL
Jason Gregoire — 0 NHL, 104 AHL, 44 Europe
Brett Hextall — 0 NHL, 197 AHL
T.J. Oshie — 371 NHL
Taylor Chorney — 61 NHL, 338 AHL
Jonathan Toews — 484 NHL
Brian Lee — 209 NHL, 134 AHL
Drew Stafford — 513 NHL, 34 AHL
Travis Zajac — 551 NHL
Rastislav Spirko — 404 Europe
Matt Smaby — 122 NHL, 212 AHL, 42 Europe
Jordan Parise — 0 NHL, 48 AHL, 13 ECHL, 138 Europe
Matt Greene — 504 NHL, 27 AHL
Brady Murray — 4 NHL, 58 AHL, 232 Europe
As you can see by the color code, three players jumped into the NHL from Day 1 and never set foot in the AHL — T.J. Oshie, Jonathan Toews and Travis Zajac (technically, Zajac played two games in the AHL at the end of UND’s season on an ATO, but he never did once he was under contract).
Six of the 17 have not played in the NHL yet. The ship has probably sailed for Parise, Spirko and Gregoire. Forbort, Hextall and Dell are still aiming at the NHL.
You can also see that Stafford and Greene played very minimal parts of their career in the AHL. They started there as rookies, but were NHLers to stay by the end of the season (Greene was playing in the Stanley Cup Finals that year). Lee also played more NHL games than AHL games. I don’t think Nelson will see the AHL ever again, either.
All players leave for different reasons. Murray was taking advantage of a loophole in the Swiss league. Spirko knew he wasn’t going to the NHL. Parise was striking the iron while it was hot. But it’s still interesting to look back on them.