Luke Kunin Hopes To Go From Wisconsin To Wild

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After a standout sophomore year with the Wisconsin Badgers, Luke Kunin turned pro and continued to turn heads this spring while playing for the AHL's Iowa Wild.

On the heels of a 22-goal season at UW, the 19-year-old team captain joined the Minnesota Wild's AHL affiliate and skated in 12 games, scoring five goals and eight points.

At 6-foot, 196 pounds, Kunin isn't the biggest guy on the ice, but he plays a hard-nosed game and appears poised for NHL success.

Kunin Nets Hat Trick In Third AHL Game

The fearless forward battles hard and was one of the most impressive Wild players during the development camp. He's also an intriguingly cheap option for a cap-strapped team with high ambitions.

After Minnesota re-signs restricted free agents Mikael Granlund and Nino Niederreiter, the team will have 11 locks on the offense, leaving a couple spots up for grabs. Pending moves, Kunin will either make the team as the 12th guy or start the season in the AHL, where he will be able to play each night.

Granlund and Niederreiter are each slated for significant raises after breakout seasons. Newcomer Marcus Foligno is also set for a new contract. The other 16 roster players account for roughly $56 million of the $75 million salary cap.

Add in the $2.5 million cap hit from the Thomas Vanek buyout and the Wild have about $16.5 million to re-sign Granlund, Niederreiter, and Foligno and add another four players for the 23-man roster. 

Drafted 15th overall in 2016, Kunin will start his entry-level contract this season after officially signing with the team in March. He would bring a very manageable cap hit of $925,000 to the strong central team that has watched its division opponents bolster their lineups.

The natural center also brings the ability to play at any of the three forward positions, which is often hard than it sounds given handedness, breakouts, and comfort and awareness.

It's not all about money, though. It's about what's best for the player's development as well as the organization's long-term future.

Have a question or a comment for Jacob Messing? You can find him on Twitter @JMessing23.

North Korea, South Korea Form Single Olympic Women's Hockey Team

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Ahead of next month's Winter Games in Pyeongchang, rivals North and South Korea will form a joint Olympic team marching under a single "unification flag," according to the Associated Press. 

Syracuse Hoping To Use CHA Rival Penn State As Second-Half Spark

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Stuck in the middle of the College Hockey America (CHA) standings, the Syracuse Orange are hoping their second series with the Penn State Nittany Lions sparks a turnaround from their current rough patch. This time they travel to University Park, Pennsylvania.

Sweet Six: No. 1 Badgers Blank Mavericks 6-0

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MADISON, Wis. — Thanks to the efforts of a balanced Badger offense, the No. 1 Wisconsin women’s hockey team opened the new year with a 6-0 victory over Minnesota State Saturday afternoon at LaBahn Arena.

Wisconsin Badgers Drop Defensive Battle To Michigan State

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No. 6/7 Buckeyes Fall to No. 13 Nittany Lions, 5-2

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Wisconsin's Kristen Campbell Named WCHA Goaltender Of The Month

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MADISON, Wis. – Wisconsin women’s hockey goaltender Kristen Campbell has been named the WCHA Goaltender of the Month for the third-consecutive month, the league announced Wednesday.

'Miracle On Ice' Reunion For Wisconsin, Minnesota State Coaches

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You could say that Mark Johnson, head coach of the Wisconsin Badgers, and John Harrington, skipper of the Minnesota State Mavericks, know each other pretty well — and their past is definitely apropos: the two were teammates on the Miracle on Ice team which shocked the world and won gold in the 1980 Olympics.

Arizona State, MVP Brinson Pasichnuk Claim Ice Vegas Title

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The Arizona State Sun Devils jumped out to an early lead against the Michigan Tech Huskies on their way to claiming the inaugural Ice Vegas Invitational championship.

NMU Hands No. 13 Boston College Second Straight Loss

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The Northern Michigan Wildcats defeated the Boston College Eagles 4-3 in a shootout Saturday to claim third place at the inaugural Ice Vegas Invitational.

Philip Beaulieu recorded a goal and two assists, powering the Wildcats over the Eagles, who will likely find themselves dropping form their current No. 13 rank after an 0-2 showing in Las Vegas.

Arizona State's 7-Goal Barrage Downs Northern Michigan

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A few hours after Michigan Tech used a three-goal first period to best Boston College, the Arizona State Sun Devils did the same against Northern Michigan.

But those three points would turn out to be just a fraction of their point total from the first day of the inaugural Ice Vegas Invitational, where physicality and speed led the way.

The Sun Devils played in front of what was virtually a home crowd as they downed the Wildcats, 7-3, on Friday night.