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Jason Zucker
Courtesy: Andrew Fielding
Jason Zucker
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Jason Zucker Signs with Minnesota Wild
Courtesy: Denver Athletics  
Release: 03/27/2012
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DENVER - University of Denver sophomore forward Jason Zucker (Las Vegas, Nev.) has decided to forgo his final two years of collegiate eligibility after signing a professional contract with the Minnesota Wild of the National Hockey League, Wild General Manager Chuck Fletcher announced Tuesday. Terms of Zucker's three-year entry level contract were not disclosed.

Zucker is expected to make his NHL debut Thursday as the team hosts the Florida Panthers at Xcel Energy Center.

"After two successful seasons at the University of Denver, Jason, his representation, and Wild management have agreed that it was the right time for Jason to turn pro," Wild Assistant General Manager Brent Flahr said. "He has achieved great personal success in a short period of time at both the collegiate and national team levels. We are very excited to have Jason under contract and look forward to seeing his development within the Wild organization."

Zucker, who was drafted in the second round (59th overall) by Minnesota in 2010, finished his DU career with 91 points (45g, 46a) in 78 games. He helped Denver to a pair of NCAA Tournament appearances and 50 career wins during his two-year career.

"Jason is a very dynamic player, who enjoyed two outstanding seasons at the University of Denver," DU head coach George Gwozdecky said. "He is a fierce competitor with elite speed and a deadly shot. Jason has excelled at every level of hockey, and we wish him continued success in the professional ranks."

Zucker helped Denver to a 25-14-4 record this season, registering a career-high 46 points (22g, 24a), nine power-play goals and three game-winning goals. Zucker was named to the All-WCHA Second Team for the second-straight year after netting 37 points (19g, 18a) in 27 league games. In 2010-11, Zucker was named WCHA Rookie of the Year and All-WCHA Second Team after tallying 36 points (20g, 16a) in 28 league games. Zucker finished his rookie campaign with 45 points (23g, 22a) and was named to the All-College Hockey News Rookie Team and Inside College Hockey All-America Rookie Team, respectively.

He is one of two United States players to win three gold medals in a one-year period as he won a gold medal at the 2009 and 2010 IIHF World Under-18 Championships as well as the 2010 IIHF World Junior Championship, and one of 21 American players to appear in three IIHF World Junior Championships.

"I'm very excited to turn pro and sign with Minnesota," Zucker said. "I loved every second of my two years at Denver and I'm anxious to begin the next chapter of my hockey career."

Zucker is the second DU underclassmen to turn pro today, joining teammate Drew Shore (Denver, Colo.) who signed with Florida. Zucker is the 16th underclassmen to sign a professional contract during Gwozdecky's 18-year tenure at DU. Shore joins Shore, Matt Donovan (2011), Marc Cheverie (2010), Joe Colborne (2010), Patrick Wiercioch (2010), Tyler Bozak (2009), Chris Butler (2008), Brock Trotter (2008), Geoff Paukovich (2007), Ryan Dingle (2007), Paul Stastny (2006), Matt Carle (2006), Brett Skinner (2005), Mark Rycroft (2000) and Matt Pettinger (1999) as Pioneers who left school early to turn pro since 1999. Bozak, Butler, Carle and Stastny currently are playing in the NHL.

Follow DU hockey on the web at www.DenverPioneers.com
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