WCHA Players Begin Professional Careers
Thirty-one players that saw WCHA ice in 2015-16 have signed pro contracts
photo
Minnesota State junior defenseman Casey Nelson went from undrafted prospect to NHL ice, inking a deal with Buffalo

EDINA, Minn. April 7, 2016 Beginning the next stage of their hockey careers, 31 men's Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) players who played in the league during the 2015-16 season have signed professional contracts.

Minnesota State senior forward Teddy Blueger (Pittsburgh) and Ferris State junior Kyle Schempp (New York Islanders) have both signed entry-level contracts with the NHL clubs that drafted them, while a third player Mavericks' junior defenseman Casey Nelson went from undrafted prospect to NHL ice, inking a deal with Buffalo and debuting with the Sabres just one week after playing in the Final Five championship game. In fact, Nelson became the first Sabres player to record points in each of his first three NHL games since Calle Johannson in 1987-88, as the 2015-16 WCHA Defensive Player of the Year and first team All-WCHA selection tallied four assists in his first three contests.

"We are proud of our WCHA alumni that have an opportunity to continue their playing careers, and we wish them the very best of success, both on and off the ice," said WCHA Commissioner Bill Robertson. "That our alumni are playing and succeeding at the professional level is a testament to their skill and dedication, along with the high caliber of coaching we have throughout the WCHA and the development these young men receive while playing in our league."

The full list of 2015-16 WCHA players to sign professional contracts is below (as of April 7, 2016).

Name, Yr., Pos. Pro Team (League) WCHA School
Austin Sevalrud, Sr., D Fort Wayne Komets (ECHL) Alaska Anchorage
Blake Tatchell, Sr., F Lake Erie Monsters (AHL) Alaska Anchorage
Chris Williams, Sr., D Norfolk Admirals (ECHL) Alaska Anchorage
Josh Atkinson, Sr., D Atlanta Gladiators (ECHL) Alaska
Alec Hajdukovich, Sr., F Alaska Aces (ECHL) Alaska
Tyler Morley, Sr., F San Diego Gulls (AHL) Alaska
Graeme McCormack, Sr., D Bridgeport Sound Tigers (AHL) Bemidji State
Cory Ward, Sr., F St. John's IceCaps (AHL) Bemidji State
Mark Cooper, Sr., F Chicago Wolves (AHL) Bowling Green
Dajon Mingo, Sr., F/D Toledo Walleye (ECHL)^ Bowling Green
Ben Murphy, Sr., F Tulsa Oilers (ECHL) Bowling Green
Brent Tate, Sr., F Toledo Walleye (ECHL) Bowling Green
Brandon Anselmini, Sr., D Orlando Solar Bears (ECHL) Ferris State
Kenny Babinski, Sr., F Alaska Aces (ECHL) Ferris State
Simon Denis, Sr., D Fort Wayne Komets (ECHL) Ferris State
Kyle Schempp, Jr., F New York Islanders (NHL)* Ferris State
Eric Drapluk, Sr., D Tulsa Oilers (ECHL) Lake Superior State
Matt Johnson, Jr., F Greenville Swamp Rabbits (ECHL) Lake Superior State
Austin McKay, Sr., F Brampton Beast (ECHL) Lake Superior State
Daniel Vernace, Sr., F Brampton Beast (ECHL) Lake Superior State
Malcolm Gould, Sr., F Indy Fuel (ECHL) Michigan Tech
C.J. Eick, Sr., F Utah Grizzlies (ECHL) Michigan Tech
Alex Petan, Sr., F Iowa Wild (AHL) Michigan Tech
Teddy Blueger, Sr. F Pittsburgh Penguins (NHL)# Minnesota State
Bryce Gervais, Sr., F Chicago Wolves (AHL) Minnesota State
Jon Jutzi, Sr., D Manitoba Moose (AHL) Minnesota State
Dylan Margonari, Sr., F Hershey Bears (AHL) Minnesota State
Casey Nelson, Jr., D Buffalo Sabres (NHL) Minnesota State
Barrett Kaib, Sr., D Rapid City Rush (ECHL) Northern Michigan
Darren Nowick, Sr., F Missouri Mavericks (ECHL) Northern Michigan
Ryan Trenz, Sr., D Alaska Aces (ECHL) Northern Michigan

^ - Mingo departed Bowling Green and signed with Toledo in December 2015.

* - Schempp signed a two-year, entry-level contract with New York that begins in 2016-17; he joined the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (AHL) on an amateur tryout contract for the remainder of the 2015-16 season.

# - Blueger signed a two-year, entry-level contract with Pittsburgh that begins in 2016-17; he joined the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (AHL) on an amateur tryout contract for the remainder of the 2015-16 campaign.