The Blackhawks have added another defenseman to their prospect pool by signing Wyatt Kalynuk, reports Mark Lazerus of The Athletic.
Kalynuk, who was selected in the seventh round in 2017 by the Flyers, became a free agent after Philadelphia did not sign him after he decided to forgo his senior season at Wisconsin.
“I’m all for doing what players think is right for them,” Wisconsin coach Tony Granato told the Wisconsin State Journal in May. “At this point, Wyatt thinks right now it’s better for him to turn pro, and I support that.
“As much as we’d like to have him back here, part of college hockey and part of recruiting great players is the fact that you understand that, unfortunately, sometimes they are ready before their four years expire.”
Kalynuk, an offensively-minded defenseman with a left-handed shot, had seven goals and 21 assists in 36 games while being the Badgers team captain this past season. The 6-foot-1, 189-pounder had 25 points in each of his first two seasons at Wisconsin. He was teammates with Blackhawks prospect and fellow defenseman Josh Ess, a 2017 seventh rounder by Chicago, the past two seasons.
Corey Pronman of The Athletic ranked the 23-year-old Kalynuk the second-best potential college free agent in February, calling him a “fantastic skater with a high skill level with a game that should translate (to the NHL).”
Kalynuk, however, won’t be eligible to play this summer if the NHL’s 24-team Return To Play tournament begins Aug. 1.