Jamieson Oleksiak, taken by the Dallas Stars
with the 14th pick of the 2011 Entry Draft, has signed with the Saginaw Spirit of the Ontario Hockey League.
At 6-foot-7 and 241 pounds, Oleksiak was the biggest player selected last month when the Stars tabbed the defenseman, who had played one season at Northeastern University.
He had 13 points and 57 penalty minutes in 38 games at Northeastern last season, but the wheels for his departure likely started when coach Greg Cronin left last month to became an assistant coach for the Toronto Maple Leafs
"Northeastern has been phenomenal for me and has really helped in my development, but as for what's happening next year, it's all up in the air," Oleksiak told the Stars' website at the draft. "My goal is to play professional hockey one day, and I really want to go where it's going to continue my development and get to my goal and help me achieve the most."
"Northeastern has been phenomenal for me and has really helped in my development, but as for what's happening next year, it's all up in the air. My goal is to play professional hockey one day, and I really want to go where it's going to continue my development and get to my goal and help me achieve the most."
-- Jamieson Oleksiak
The next step in his development will be with Saginaw, which drafted Oleksiak with the 138th pick of the 2008 OHL draft and has spent three years trying to convince him to sign.
"We have been after him for a couple of years, similar to how we were after Brandon Saad
leading up to last season," Saginaw GM/coach Todd Watson told the team's website. "This is an important signing that helps to strengthen our defense and we look forward to him coming into camp, adjusting to the caliber of OHL hockey and contributing in the 2011-2012 season."
It's the second time in the last month that Oleksiak has made a major decision involving his hockey future. A dual U.S.-Canadian citizen, Oleksiak opted to attend Hockey Canada's junior evaluation camp next month in an attempt to play for Canada at the 2012 World Junior Championship, rather than attend USA Hockey's camp and try out for the U.S. team.
Oleksiak also is the second consecutive Stars first-round pick to choose the OHL rather than U.S. college hockey. Last year's first-rounder, goaltender Jack Campbell
, passed on playing at the University of Michigan to sign with the Windsor Spitfires.
Saginaw, which already includes Pittsburgh prospects Saad and Vincent Trocheck
, finished second in the OHL Western Conference last season and advanced to the second round of the league playoffs.
Contact Adam Kimelman at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK