Timing was right for Welsh to leave Union for pros (updates with 2 videos)
Jeremy Welsh believed he had nothing left to prove in his Union College career. Dutchmen coach Rick Bennett agreed with that.
After an outstanding three-year career with the Dutchmen, the 23-year-old Welsh is giving up his senior season to join the Carolina Hurricanes. The 6-foot-3, 210-pound center signed a one-year deal late Thursday night. The one-year deal will pay Welsh $832,500 on the NHL level and $70,000 on the AHL level, along with a signing bonus of $92,500. He will make his NHL debut Saturday when the Hurricanes close out the season at the Florida Panthers.
Welsh leaves Union as the Dutchmen's top single-season scorer in the Division I era with 27 this season. He collected his 100th career point Thursday, assisting on Daniel Carr's second-period goal. He is eighth on the team's career scoring list, and third in career goals with 53.
Welsh led the team in scoring this season with 27 goals and 17 assists. His 44 points are the second-most in a season in the Union Division I era. Mario Valery-Trabucco has the record of 45, set in 2009-10, when Welsh was a freshman.
"I just feel, for my development as a hockey player, it was time to move on and take the next challenge," Welsh said Friday morning at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. "I'm going to get my education [done] by the end of the summer. It's time to move and just keep developing."
Bennett is very happy for Welsh. He believes the timing is right.
"He has our full blessing," Bennett said. "It's great to see good people rewarded for their hard work. He's older. He's really taken care of his course work.
"I think he's my age right now," Bennett joked, "so it was time to go."
I have two videos.
To watch Welsh's interview, click here.
To watch Bennett's interview, click here.