There is yet another vacancy on the Michigan hockey team.
The Colorado Avalanche announced today that they have signed junior forward JT Compher to a three-year, entry-level contract.
The Wolverines’ captain had a stellar 2015-16 campaign, compiling 16 goals and 47 assists to finish second on the team in scoring with 63 points — a mark that surpasses his combined point total from the first two years of his Michigan career. Compher’s tally of helpers was the highest total since Brendan Morrison set a program record with 57 assists in 1996-97.
His performance earned him a spot among the top-10 finalists for the Hobey Baker Award and his career aggregate of 118 points made him the first junior to notch 100 points since Carl Hagelin did so in 2010.
Compher’s jump to a NHL organization marks the fifth early departure for Michigan and the complete dissolution of Michigan’s vaunted ‘CCM line,’ which was composed of Compher, freshman forward Kyle Connor and junior forward Tyler Motte.
Connor, Motte, sophomore defenseman Zach Werenski and junior defenseman Michael Downing all chose to forgo their remaining Michigan careers to sign contracts with their respective NHL organizations.
Senior forwards Boo Nieves and Justin Selman also signed contracts with NHL teams and are currently playing for their American Hockey League affiliates.
With the seven departures, Michigan has now lost 63 percent of its scoring from the previous season.
The Wolverines will arguably miss Compher’s leadership more than anything, as Michigan coach Red Berenson praised his junior forward for helping change the team’s culture during his tenure as a captain in the week leading up to the NCAA Tournament.
“If you lead the team right and get everyone on board, you have the chance to be a good team,” Berenson said. “I don’t think it happens from day one, but even in the fall, word was leaking out that the players have never gotten along better. We just seemed to think that this was the right group.
“You can’t just create that; you can’t draw it up or force it.”
Now, as Berenson returns for his 33rd season at the helm, he will face the task of reconfiguring an offense that led the nation with 4.76 goals per game. But more than anything, he is left with a “C” to hand out to a member of his Michigan squad.