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Wild sign Vladislav Firstov to ELC

A college player no more, the prospect has turned professional.

COLLEGE HOCKEY: MAR 19 Hockey East Championship - UMASS v UCONN Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Oh boy, we got some hot post-NHL Trade Deadline coming our way.

Announced by the team on Wednesday morning, the Minnesota Wild have signed winger Vladislav Firstov to a three-year entry-level contract that will start next season.

In addition to the actual contract signing, Firstov will report to the AHL Iowa Wild on an amateur try-out for the remainder of the season, so his contract doesn’t start burning up until next season. This is not like when the Wild signed Matt Boldy to his deal last season, as it started right away — more significant prospects have this luxury as they will get a new deal a year sooner.

The 20-year-old winger was drafted by Minnesota in the second round (42nd overall) in the 2019 NHL Draft. Now with this contract in-hand, the Wild have turned the four first picks they made that weekend (Boldy, Firstov, Hunter Jones, and Adam Beckman) into professional players and some key pieces for the future of this team.

With the University of Connecticut this season, Firstov has scored 12 goals and 23 points in 35 games, only Nashville Predators prospect Jachym Kondelik and Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Ryan Tverberg had more points for that team.

Some of those dozen goals were pretty spectacular.

With Firstov, there are no real expectations for the player. Yeah, he was second-round pick in a recent draft, but with the talent that is starting to come through the organization, making him into a bonafide scorer at the NHL level would be an incredible bonus. He has stalled slightly through his COVID-influenced collegiate career (had essentially the same production this year as he did two years ago in his rookie season) but maybe with some professional coaching and more hands-on development with the Wild, he can turn into a solid contributor.

The AHL Wild play their next game on Friday against the Rockford IceHogs, so maybe we’ll see him then.