Josh Norris last played an organized hockey game in Canada more than five months ago. The next time the sophomore forward picks up a stick, it’ll also be up north — Norris signed an NHL entry-level contract with the Ottawa Senators, according to the team’s official website.
“I am very thankful that I was able to play for this amazing university,” Norris said in a press release on MGoBlue.com. “It was the best two years of my life. I want to thank all of the staff, the fans, and especially my teammates for everything. I will miss you, Ann Arbor. Go Blue!”
Norris was the 19th overall pick in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft by the San Jose Sharks, but saw his rights traded to Ottawa. As a sophomore, Norris scored 10 goals and 19 points overall but an undisclosed injury sustained at the 2019 World Junior Championships sidelined him for the rest of Michigan’s season.
With senior forward Will Lockwood’s returning for one last run alongside senior forwards Jake Slaker and Nick Pastujov, the cupboard won’t be completely bare for the Wolverines. What should be an upperclassmen-laden front line could give Michigan a veteran boost that it didn’t have last season.
Still, there’s no denying that Norris’ departure opens up questions about Michigan’s offense. Before leaving for the World Junior Championships, Norris tied for the team lead in goals and was second in points. Johnny Beecher, in particular, is a highly-touted prospect that should help the Wolverines next season, but replacing that kind of production will not happen overnight.
This story is developing and will be updated as we learn more.