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Big Ten's top defenseman Mike Reilly leaving Gophers


The two-time Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year is leaving the Gopher men's hockey team.

All-American junior Mike Reilly told the Star Tribune Wednesday that he will forgo his senior season and sign a professional contract.

Reilly didn't say what his exact plans are other than to play for Team USA at the World Championships May 1-17 in Czech Republic. He's one of only three college players on the team, USA Today reports. The remaining players will come from NHL teams that don't make the playoffs.

Gophers assistant coach Mike Guentzel said Reilly has "options" of where to sign. Reilly is a draftee of the Columbus Blue Jackets, but if he doesn't sign with Columbus he can become a free agent on June 1, the Star Tribune says.

Reilly joins fellow Gophers Brady Skjei and Adam Wilcox as early departures. Travis Boyd, Kyle Rau and Seth Ambroz all signed professional contracts after their senior seasons ended with a first-round exit in the NCAA Tournament.

SB Nation adds that sophomore Hudson Fasching will decide this summer whether to forgo his junior season to sign with the Buffalo Sabres.

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