Saturday, March 28, 2009

Stoa Off to the Pro Ranks

The Colorado Avalanche signed Gopher hockey captain Ryan Stoa Friday to the standard three-year entry-level contract. The junior will pass up his final year of eligibility at the University. Stoa misses almost all of the 2007-08 season following surgery for a knee injury suffered in the second game of the season.

Stoa's loss will loom large for the Gophers. Besides being the team's captain, Stoa led the team in scoring with 24-22-46 in 36 games played. The defection was not unexpected, as the Avs' second round pick in 2005 was perceived as a top pro prospect.

The Avalanche also hold the draft rights to Gopher junior forward Mike Carman and freshman goaltender Kent Patterson. While there are no plans in place to sign Patterson at this time, it is unclear whether or not Carman will defect as well.

Stoa becomes the fifth (updated, sixth) WCHA underclassman to sign a pro contract, joining Wisconsin's Jamie McBain (Carolina), UAA's Paul Crowder (NY Rangers), MSU-Mankato's Trevor Bruess (Washington), and CC's Brian Connelly (Chicago), and CC's Richard Bachmann (Dallas).

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