Wisconsin sophomore forward Brendan Woods is leaving the Badgers to sign a pro contract with the Carolina Hurricanes. In doing so, Woods will forfeit his final two seasons of collegiate eligibility. The deal will be three years in length, which goes into effect starting next season.
The 6-foot-3, 215-pound Woods was selected in the 2012 NHL Draft by Carolina in the fifth round, 129th overall. Once the final papers are signed, he'll report to the Hurricanes' AHL affiliate in Charlotte, N.C., on an ATO for the rest of the season.
"Growing up being a hockey player, it's always been a dream of mine to play professional hockey," Woods told Bucky's 5th Quarter on Tuesday while waiting for his flight to Charlotte. "For it to come true, it's pretty awesome. It's a good organization and I'm looking forward to taking that next step."
The left-handed center registered five goals and 12 points as a sophomore after notching five goals and 10 points in his rookie campaign for the Badgers.
Woods, who calls Yorba Linda, Calif., home now with his father, Bob, an assistant coach with the Anaheim Ducks, played a large role for the Badgers in their second-half surge to the Broadmoor Trophy as WCHA tournament champions. Nine of Woods' 12 points came in Wisconsin's final 16 contests.
The 20-year-old came to Madison with good size and big upside and has turned himself into a quality player. A two-way player, Woods can handle duties at both the center position and wing. Woods excelled as a face-off man this past season, winning .569 percent of his draws, which led the team.
On the way out, Woods gave high praise to the UW coaching staff.
"Madison was a great area and a great school," Woods said. "The staff there, I learned so much from them. I couldn't have gotten to where I am today without all their help and advice."
Woods also noted the hardest part was leaving some of his best friends at Wisconsin.
"We were a really close, tight group and did everything together," Woods said. "I became close with a lot of those guys, and some of them are probably going to be standing up in my wedding some day. It was tough to leave them, but I can always come back, and I'll always see them.
"It was tough, but it was what I wanted to do, and this has always been my dream."
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