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Ducks sign Thompson, meaning another North Dakota d-man goes pro

Keaton Thompson, Tim Clifton, Soren Jonzzon

North Dakota defenseman Keaton Thompson (4) cuts between Quinnipiac forward Soren Jonzzon (18) and forward Tim Clifton during the first period of an NCAA Frozen Four championship college hockey game Saturday, April 9, 2016, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)


After the high of capturing the 2016 Frozen Four, North Dakota is now dealing with the ramifications of success.

On Wednesday, junior defenseman Keaton Thompson -- Anaheim’s third-round pick in 2013 -- signed a three-year, entry-level deal with the Ducks, forgoing his senior season in the process.

Thompson, 20, scored a career-best 17 points in 43 games this year. The O.C. Register described him as a “defensive stalwart” and, according to the Grand Forks Herald, the school expected him to go pro.

Thompson’s departure comes just days after another UND junior -- blueliner Troy Stecher -- signed a two-year deal with Vancouver, forgoing his senior year as well.

Meanwhile, Frozen Four most outstanding player Drake Caggiula -- a senior that was already leaving school -- has begun his tour of interested NHL suitors. Per TSN, Caggiula has shortlisted six clubs: Philadelphia, Edmonton, Ottawa, Vancouver, Chicago and Buffalo.

As for the rest of North Dakota’s key players? Well, freshman scoring sensation and (and first-round pick of Vancouver) Brock Boeser already said he’s going back to school, as did junior defenseman Gage Ausmus.

There’s still some uncertainty around junior d-man Paul LaDue, a L.A. Kings draft pick. It’s possible the 23-year-old will turn pro, rather than return for his senior year.