<

REPORT: Preds ink Golden Gophers captain Zach Budish…

Zach Budish (Brace Hemmelgarn)

The Nashville Predators have kicked off NHL Trade Deadline Day with a signing, not a trade.

Renaud Lavoie of RDS is reporting that the Preds have signed 2009 second round pick Zach Budish.

Per Michael Russo, the entry level contract is two years.

Budish, 21, just finished his red shirt junior season at the University of Minnesota and decided to leave school early to turn pro.

Can you blame him? He has an unfortunate injury history that is undeniable and, if his dream is to play in the NHL, the sooner he turns pro, the better. In 2008-09, he missed his entire senior season after suffering a torn ACL while playing for his high school’s football team. Then, in 2010-11, he was involved in a moped accident that shelved him for the majority of his sophomore season with the Golden Gophers.

The Edina, Minnesota, native is a mountain of a man. At 6’3″, 215 pounds, Budish is projected as a power forward in the pro game and will get his feet wet right away as he’s expected to join the Milwaukee Admirals for their stretch run.

There’s a lot to be excited about with Budish. The website Hockey’s Future says he “utilizes his large frame and strength very well, including on the physical side and is quite difficult to move off the puck. He can deliver some solid checks without taking himself out of the play. He also has great hands and superb playmaking ability.”

Budish captained the Golden Gophers to the second overall seed in the NCAA Men’s Hockey Tournament before getting upset by Yale in overtime of their first round match up.

The right winger amassed 94 points in 124 games at Minnesota and played in the Frozen Four in 2012.

RELATED READING:

PHOTO CREDIT: Brace Hemmelgarn (permission pending)