First reported on twitter Wednesday, and confirmed to TheWolverine.com, Alex Guptill has officially signed a two-year entry-level contract with the Dallas Stars, voiding his senior season of collegiate eligibility.
"Red Berenson and the rest of Michigan's coaching staff deserve a lot of credit for preparing Alex for the next level of hockey," said Dallas GM Jim Nill. "He's developed into a consistent scorer with a quick, hard shot and will continue to develop those skills in the years ahead."
The 6-3, 183-pounder makes it two early departures in two days for the Maize and Blue after classmate Phil Di Giuseppe signed with the Carolina Hurricanes yesterday.
"This was completely, 100 percent expected," U-M Associate Head Coach Billy Powers said of Guptill's decision. "He is in a real unique position because he was drafted the year prior to Michigan and in his circumstance, Dallas would lose his rights as of Aug. 15 this summer.
"Maybe we weren't 100 percent on Phil signing but we were 100 percent sure on Alex leaving based on the circumstances that Dallas would be faced with."
Guptill was the CCHA Rookie of the Year in 2012 after leading Michigan with 16 goals and 33 points. He followed up his successful freshman campaign with another 16-goal output and a career-high 20 assists in 2013.
However, in his sophomore year, the Newmarket, Ont., was left in Ann Arbor for a two-game series at Ferris State because the coaches were unhappy with his commitment on the ice and off. The message sent seemed to be well-received, as Guptill responded down the stretch in racking up eight goals and nine assists on Michigan's top line during an 8-1-1 stretch to close out the season.
This past year, Guptill was both a great player and a frustrating one, displaying the offensive acumen that made him dangerous on every shift but the laziness to play a three-zone game (poor backchecking and a general indifference towards defense) that again led to a healthy scratch out of the lineup.
A 2010 third-round pick of the Stars, Guptill scored 44 goals with 50 assists in his career, hitting double digits in markers each of his three seasons.
While U-M is now down 46 goals from its 107-goal total this past season with the two early departures and four seniors graduating, Michigan is not expected to suffer another premature exit this offseason.
"You've seen here in the past some surprises, but as far as the coaching staff goes, we feel confident that the remainder of the team will be back," Powers said.