Gophers' defenseman Nate Schmidt signs with Washington Capitals

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Minnesota Gophers defenseman Nate Schmidt has signed a two-year entry level contract with the Washington Capitals, the team announced today.

Schmidt, a junior, will forego his senior season with the Gophers.

“This wasn’t an easy decision to make, but it is the right decision," Schmidt told Gophersports.com. "I am looking forward to beginning the next chapter of my playing career.”

In 96 career games at Minnesota, the St. Cloud native tallied 74 points and 12 goals as a two-time All-WCHA defenseman.

Schmidt might be the first of several Gophers players to jump to the NHL early, according to Fox Sports North. Others include Erik Haula, Zach Budish and Nick Bjugstad.

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