Judd Caulfield signs with Anaheim Ducks
The Grand Forks native's rights were traded from Pittsburgh to Anaheim earlier this week.
GRAND FORKS — Judd Caulfield is turning pro after all.
Two days after his NHL rights were traded from the Pittsburgh Penguins to the Anaheim Ducks, the Grand Forks native signed a two-year contract with Anaheim, giving up his final year of college eligibility.
Prior to the trade, Caulfield said he planned to return to UND for a fifth season.
That will no longer happen.
The 6-foot-4, 212-pound winger will immediately join the American Hockey League's San Diego Gulls on a tryout deal. His two-year NHL contract will begin in the fall.
Caulfield played in 133 games during his four seasons at UND, tallying 29 goals and 62 points.
UND has lost five forwards from its 2022-23 team. Fifth-year seniors Mark Senden and Gavin Hain are out of eligibility. Caulfield turned pro. Sophomores Matteo Costantini and Nick Portz entered the transfer portal.
The Fighting Hawks will bring in at least two rookie forwards in Jayden Perron and Michael Emerson of the Chicago Steel. They also received a commitment Saturday from Omaha transfer Cameron Berg, a West Fargo native.
With Caulfield's signing, UND will have to bring in one more forward.
Considering the Fighting Hawks have several smaller, dynamic forwards in Riese Gaber, Jackson Blake, Perron and Owen McLaughlin, it's likely they'll search for a winger with size to replace Caulfield.
UND also is awaiting word whether senior winger Carson Albrecht will play a fifth season in Grand Forks.
Caulfield played at Grand Forks Central before leaving high school to join USA Hockey's National Team Development Program as a junior. He spent two years with the NTDP, then came to UND in the fall of 2019.
The Fighting Hawks won the Penrose Cup as National Collegiate Hockey Conference champions in each of Caulfield's first three seasons on campus.
Caulfield will be the sixth Greater Grand Forks player to be on an NHL contract since 2021-22.
The others are Tucker Poolman, Colton Poolman, Luke Johnson, Paul LaDue and Jon Lizotte.