The major league trade deadline is fast approaching, but in Minnesota it’s the Gopher hockey team, and not the Twins, dealing with an onslaught of roster moves.
Defenseman Nick Leddy has come to terms on a contract with the Chicago Blackhawks, a deal the Chicago Tribune reports is for three years and $2.7 million, and will bypass his final three seasons of college eligibility. The 19-year-old Eden Prairie, Minn., native, who scored three goals and added eight assists in 30 games as a freshman for the Gophers, was selected in the first round of the 2009 NHL draft by the Minnesota Wild, but his rights were traded to Chicago along with defenseman Kim Johnsson in February in exchange for blueliner Cam Barker. Leddy is expected to begin his professional career with the Blackhawks’ American Hockey League affiliate in Rockford, Ill.
Forward Josh Birkholz, meanwhile, is departing to join the Everett (Wash.) Silvertips of the Western Hockey League. According to a statement released by the Minnesota athletic department Tuesday, Birkholz was facing a suspension for violation of team rules. The Maple Grove, Minn., product, had five goals and an assist in 36 games with the Gophers last season.