With NCAA graduates hitting the open market, Ken Holland has had a busy afternoon. First, he inked Ryan Kuffner from Princeton to an entry level contract. Next was Taro Hirose.
— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) March 12, 2019
Hirose spent the last three years at MSU where he recorded 33 goals and 116 points in 106 games. This season, he led the nation in points with 50, points-per-game with 1.47, and assists with 35. He was recently named as one of three finalist for the Big Ten Hockey Player of the Year along with Quinn Hughes and Mason Jobst. He was originally linked to the Maple Leafs by TSN’s Bob McKenzie. I think it’s safe to say he made the right choice.
What’s really interesting about this signing is that Hirose is expected to bypass the minor leagues and go straight to the Red Wings.
BREAKING NEWS EXCLUSIVE FROM SPARTAN NATION: MSU Hockey UFA F Taro Hirose moments ago signed his NHL contract with the Detroit Reds Wings. He will be going straight 2 the Red Wings & not playing in the minor leagues, leaving MSU early. He is a Hobey Baker award finalist as well.
— Hondo Carpenter (@HondoCarpenter) March 12, 2019
He was in the Red Wings development camp last Summer, but due to his commitment to MSU, obviously couldn’t sign any pro contracts. Still, for him to go right from the NCAA to the NHL is a big jump and says a lot about the Red Wings belief in his skillset and that of the players he’s jumping the depth chart, like David Pope and Matt Puempel. It will be interesting to see how he’s used for the remainder of the year, if at all.
Hirose is a small guy at 5’10”, but he has great speed, hands, and vision on the ice.
Taro Hirose’s 11th of the season – not a bad way to notch career point 1️⃣0️⃣0️⃣! pic.twitter.com/sNpAaUgqr1
— MSU_Hockey (@MSU_Hockey) January 13, 2019