The University of Wisconsin men’s hockey season ended over the weekend at the hands of Ohio State, with the Badgers losing two games in a best-of-three playoff round. It was only a matter of time until an announcement was made about 2019 first-round pick Alex Turcotte’s future, and today, he and the Los Angeles Kings made it official. Turcotte signed his entry-level contract to begin his professional career.
Turcotte’s entry-level deal, a three-year contract likely worth the maximum of $925,000 per year — plus potential bonuses — will begin in the 2020-21 season. He has signed an additional amateur try-out contract, which will enable him to report to the Ontario Reign for the duration of their season, to help with their playoff push.
The Wisconsin Badgers, despite a large number of high-end NHL prospects on the roster, were never able to find sustained success this season, finishing last in the Big Ten. This, despite having players like Turcotte, Canadiens pick Cole Caufield, and Rangers pick K’Andre Miller. The Badgers were a very young team this year who struggled with discipline and consistency, putting them behind their more-experienced peer teams.
In 29 games for Wisconsin, Turcotte collected 26 points (9 goals, 17 assists). His season was marred by illness, missing several games early in the season due to a respiratory illness that circulated around the team, as well as a knee injury later in the season. Turcotte finished the season strong, scoring five points in two games against the Arizona State University Sun Devils, and collecting Big Ten third star of the week honors.
Turcotte’s play was inconsistent, but how much of that is a skater issue and how much of that is a team issue is up for debate. Seeing Turcotte dominate play at the NCAA level before turning pro may have given a better comfort level in regards to his ability to slide seamlessly into the NHL or AHL. Now, however, the Kings will have full control over his development and deployment, and Turcotte will have a chance to play meaningful games as the Ontario Reign try to push for a playoff spot.