Wild sign 1st-round pick, 'born leader' Luke Kunin

Luke Kunin might be on the fast track to the NHL.

Luke Kunin is turning pro. The now-former Wisconsin Badgers forward agreed to a three-year entry-level deal with the Minnesota Wild. He'll report to the Iowa Wild of the American Hockey League and finish the season there.

Kunin, 19, was the youngest captain at Wisconsin in 41 years and he led them in scoring as a freshman (19 goals) and sophomore (22 goals, 16 assists). He also captained Team USA to the gold medal at the World Junior Championships last year. Yes, he was the captain on the gold-medal team that included the No. 1 pick in the draft, current Toronto Maple Leafs rookie, Austin Matthews.

"We refer to him as a gamer because of his competitiveness and willingness to get involved, and the fact that he can not only score goals but also be relied on defensively and play in a lot of different situations," Wild assistant general manager Brent Flahr said after the Wild took him 15th overall in last year's NHL Draft.

Wisconsin coach Tony Granato told Wild.com that "you look at him every day and go, 'Wow.' ... First one in the gym, does everything that's asked of him, stands up for his teammates. He's a born leader."

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