Late Thursday night, the Grand Forks Herald reported that the University of North Dakota expects forward Luke Johnson to turn pro. They are reportedly still waiting word from forward Nick Schmaltz, also a Blackhawks prospect.
Johnson, who will turn 22 on Sept. 19, was a fifth round puck by the Blackhawks in the 2013 NHL Draft. The Grand Forks native scored 11 goals with 10 assists in 43 games for UND this season as their second line center. Listed at 6-0 and 194 pounds, he was credited with 25 blocked shots this season as well.
He scored big goals during this spring’s playoffs, but a knee injury kept him from playing in the national championship game. The Herald reported the Hawks pursued Johnson last summer as well, but he opted to return to UND for a run to the Frozen Four. The national championship game was the first missed game of Johnson’s collegiate career.
Johnson’s cousin, UND defenseman Paul LaDue, has reportedly signed with the LA Kings.