The mass exodus of Notre Dame Fighting Irish hockey players leaving school for the professional level continues.
On Thursday, senior defenseman Jordan Gross signed a two-year, entry-level free agent contract with the Arizona Coyotes. The next day, junior defenseman Dennis Gilbert signed a three-year contact with the Chicago Blackhawks, the team that drafted him in the third round (91st overall) in the 2015 NHL Draft.
Welcome to the Pack, Jordan Gross! https://t.co/6jmFN0bBmd— Arizona Coyotes (@ArizonaCoyotes) April 13, 2018
These signings came just days after forwards Jake Evans (Montreal Canadians) and Andrew Oglevie (Buffalo Sabres) also agreed to professional contracts.
Gross played in all of Notre Dame’s 159 games dating back to the beginning of his freshman year in 2014-15. He was named a first-team All-Big Ten defenseman this past season after recording 30 points (10 goals, 20 assists) in 40 games. Gross finishes his college career with 36 goals and 85 assists for 121 points, which ranks third in program history in scoring among defenseman. His last goal as a member of the Irish came in the NCAA East Regional semifinal in overtime to give Notre Dame a dramatic 4-3 win over Michigan Tech. He was eventually named the Regional’s Most Outstanding Player.
Gilbert finishes his Notre Dame career with six goals and 36 assists for 42 points in 116 games. Playing in mostly a stay-at-home defenseman role, he was named the Hockey East’s best defensive defenseman his sophomore year in 2016-17. He also recorded 236 career blocked shots, and led all NCAA defenseman in shorthanded goals this past season (2).
Both Gross and Gilbert will join their new teams’ respective minor-league affiliates for the upcoming AHL playoffs.
These four recent signings, along with the graduation of five other players, means the makeup of next year’s Notre Dame team could look significantly different from this past year. It will be interesting to see if any more Irish players decide to leave school early.