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Beniers joins Kraken; latest Michigan star to jump to NHL

Matty Beniers

SOUTH BEND, IN - FEBRUARY 26: Michigan Wolverines forward Matty Beniers (10) skates with puck during pregame warmups before a men’s college hockey game between the Michigan Wolverines and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish on February 26th, 2022 at the Compton Family Ice Arena in South Bend IN. (Photo by Joseph Weiser/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

SEATTLE -- The Seattle Kraken agreed to terms Sunday with top prospect Matty Beniers, making him the latest University of Michigan player to jump immediately to the NHL.

Beniers posted an illustration of himself standing on a frozen Elliott Bay looking at the Seattle skyline with the message, “See you soon” after finalizing his three-year entry-level contract. He’s expected to join the team right away.

“We’re excited to welcome Matty to our organization,” general manager Ron Francis said. “He capped off a productive career at Michigan with a trip to the Frozen Four and has impressed our staff over the past couple of years with his leadership and strong two-way game. We’re looking forward to working with him as he takes the next step in his development.”

[Related: Owen Power signs with Sabres as Michigan NHL exodus begins]

The 19-year-old playmaking center had 43 points in 37 games for the Wolverines, who reached the semifinals before losing two victories short of a national title. Beniers had a goal and an assist and was one of the best U.S. players at the Beijing Olympics.

Beniers was the second pick in the 2021 draft and the first in the expansion franchise’s history. He’s also set to be the first Kraken pick to play for them.

“I can’t wait to get started,” Beniers said. “Although we fell short of our goal, I loved my time with Michigan and am looking forward to the next step in my journey. Being drafted last summer was surreal, and I’m excited to get to Seattle.”

Beniers joins Michigan teammates Owen Power, Kent Johnson and Nick Blankenburg in the NHL after all signed contracts since the overtime loss to Denver on Thursday night. Vegas prospect Brendan Brisson could be next.