Paul LaDue is getting a fresh start.
The former Grand Forks Central and UND standout defender has signed a one-year, $700,000 free-agent contract with the Washington Capitals.
LaDue's contract is a one-way deal, which means he'll get paid the same whether he's in the NHL or in the American Hockey League.
LaDue had been with the Los Angeles Kings organization since turning pro in 2016 after leading UND to its eighth NCAA national championship.
The 6-foot-2, 200-pound, right-handed shooting defenseman has played in the NHL during each of his four full pro seasons, but often spent time bouncing between Los Angeles and its AHL affiliate, Ontario (Calif.).
In 2018-19, after signing a one-way deal with the Kings, he spent the whole season in the NHL. LaDue played 33 games with Los Angeles, scoring two goals and tallying five points in 33 games. Last season, he was mostly in the AHL, playing 48 games with the Ontario Reign and two with the Kings.
In Washington, LaDue will team up with another former UND player in T.J. Oshie. The Capitals won the Stanley Cup in 2018, but have been eliminated in the first round in each of the last two years.
LaDue has played 69 career NHL games, tallying five goals and 18 points. He also has played in two playoff games, scoring a goal in one of them.
LaDue played three years at UND, tallying 21, 22 and 19 points. The Fighting Hawks won the championship during his junior year. He played prep hockey at Grand Forks Central, leading the Knights to a state championship as a junior in 2010.
Troy Stecher leaves hometown team
After leading UND to the 2016 NCAA national championship, Troy Stecher had an opportunity to pick his NHL destination as an undrafted free agent.
He chose his hometown team.
Stecher, who is from Richmond, B.C., signed with the Vancouver Canucks and immediately became a fan favorite there. But with salary cap issues, the Canucks did not send Stecher a qualifying offer this fall, making him an unrestricted free agent again.
This time, Stecher left his hometown team.
Stecher signed a two-year, $3.4 million deal with the Detroit Red Wings. His base salary will be $1.2 million this upcoming season and $2.2 million in 2021-22, according to CapFriendly.
The 5-foot-10, 186-pound, right-handed shooting blue liner has played almost exclusively with the Canucks since turning pro in 2016. He has played 286 NHL games, registering 11 goals and 75 points.
This summer, he was a key part of Vancouver's run to the Western Conference semifinals.
The Canucks toppled the Minnesota Wild in the play-in round, then knocked off defending Stanley Cup champion St. Louis in the conference quarterfinals before falling to the Vegas Golden Knights.
Stecher played in all 17 Canuck playoff games, scoring twice and tallying three points and a plus-9. His plus-9 rating was easily the best on the team in the playoffs. The next closest was defenseman Alexander Edler at plus-5.
Derek Forbort headed to Winnipeg
Derek Forbort also has a new home.
The former UND defender and first-round pick of the Los Angeles Kings is off to Winnipeg, where he will play alongside UND's Tucker Poolman on the blue line.
Forbort signed a one-year deal worth $1 million. He will be expected to slot in as a regular on the left side of the defensive core, where Winnipeg could use help. Forbort has primarily been used as a defensive defenseman who can eat up minutes, especially on the penalty kill.
Forbort turned pro in 2013 after spending three seasons at UND. He had been with the Kings' organization for seven years until this year's trading deadline, when he was shipped to Calgary.
The 6-foot-4, 219-pound defenseman from Duluth was a regular for the Flames in the playoffs, scoring a goal and tallying two points in 10 games. The Flames eliminated Winnipeg from the playoffs.
In Winnipeg, Forbort will be surrounded by several players from the Duluth area. Forbort, who played prep hockey at Duluth East, will be beside Jets signings Dominic Toninato (Duluth East), Neal Pionk (Hermantown) and Dylan Samberg (Hermantown). Westin Michaud, of Cloquet, also is with Winnipeg's organization.