North Dakota was dealt a harsh, but somewhat expected blow today when star forward Travis Zajac, and defenseman Matt Smaby both left for the NHL.
It was rumored before the season even ended that Zajac would sign with the New Jersey Devils, who really wanted Zajac. Smaby developed into a very solid defensive defenseman and will join a Tampa Bay organization that has one of the weakest farm systems in the NHL and needs strong prospects.
Also bad news for North Dakota is that highly regarded recruit Michael Forney broke his leg while practicing with the U18 team. That injury should keep Forney off the ice for most of the summer, and could mean that North Dakota will have to delay his arrival until the 2007 season.