Minnesota State junior forward Jon Kalinski has opted to forgo his senior season and is signing with the Philadelphia Flyers. Reached via cell phone on his way to the airport for a flight to Philly, Kalinski said he had every intention of returning to the Mavericks.
"Actually, I was pretty excited for the team next year," he said. Obviously, it's a big dream of mine to go to the NHL. When I got the offer, I had to take it."
While Kalinski didn't want to discuss terms of the deal, coach Troy Jutting said he's getting a contract worthy of a first-round draft pick. Kalinski was selected in the sixth round of last summer's NHL draft, his second year of draft eligibility.
"I'd like to think that means we're doing something right," Jutting said. "That's three kids in three years that the NHL didn't think could play when they got here."
Last season, junior defenseman Steve Wagner signed a free-agent contract with the St. Louis Blues. A year earlier, sophomore forward Ryan Carter signed a free-agent contract with the Anaheim Ducks. That same offseason, forward David Backes, who was drafted before he arrived at MSU, also left school early.
"Like I've said before," Jutting said. "It's what these kids dream of. It's their goal. I'm extremely happy for Jon, to get the kind of deal he got. I wish him well."