Wisconsin has seen its share of departures for the NHL, but on Saturday afternoon the biggest blow to the 2014-15 season occurred as sophomore forward Nic Kerdiles signed a contract with the team that drafted him in the 2nd round of the 2012 Entry Draft—the Anaheim Ducks.
Kerdiles’ departure leaves a massive hole in the Badgers’ front line for next season, and it was a close call for the second-team All-Big selection. With a 1.18 points-per-game career scoring average, Kerdiles is second in scoring average during theMike Eaves’ coaching era at Wisconsin (since 2002) behind only current San Jose Sharks’ star Joe Pavelski’s 1.20 points-per-game mark.
That mark stands 19th all-time at Wisconsin, despite playing just two seasons in the Cardinal and White. He leaves Madison having amassed 26 goals, 45 assists and 71 points in 60 games played.
This season, Kerdiles averaged 1.36 points per game, which currently ranks fifth in the country and is the highest mark for any sophomore in the nation. The average is best in the Big Ten, as was his 1.57 points-per-game mark when looking at conference action only.
Clearly, Kerdiles’ departure leaves a huge hole for the Badgers. Soon-to-be senior Joseph LaBate is left as the biggest forward threat for the Badgers next season. LaBate finished this season with 11 goals and 11 assists for 22 points.
Kerdiles is the fifth Badger to sign a pro contract this offseason and the second to leave school early.