It seems 2019 No. 5 overall pick Alex Turcotte will be one-and-done at the University of Wisconsin. The Los Angeles Kings have announced that Turcotte has signed his entry-level contract. Even better for L.A., the deal does not start until the 2020-21 season, meaning Turcotte will not be playing down the stretch and burning a year in what is a lost season for the Kings. Instead, Turcotte will join the AHL’s Ontario Reign on an ATO for the remainder of the season.
Turcotte, 19, has signed a standard entry-level contract of three years with a cap hit of $925K. However, the deal also includes more than $1.5M in annual performance bonuses for an AAV of $2.475M. Yet, even that amount could turn out to be a bargain for the Kings. Lauded as the best two-way forward in last year’s draft class, Turcotte was a superstar with the U.S. National Team Development Program, recording 62 points in 37 games and 78 points overall in 56 points over two years with the U-18 team. As a freshman at Wisconsin this year, Turcotte again impressed with 26 points in 29 games. While injury concerns have remained through Turcotte’s developmental years, when on the ice he looks like a top-six NHL forward in the making and should make an immediate impact for L.A.
Turcotte’s departure is another tough blow for the Badgers. The team was a preseason favorite of many given their depth of NHL prospect talent, but inconsistent play and spotty goaltending led the team out of the NCAA rankings and eventually to a last place finish in the Big Ten Conference. While Montreal top prospect Cole Caufield seems likely to return for his sophomore season, New York Rangers defensive prospect K’Andre Miller could follow Turcotte out of Madison and Wisconsin’s title window could close just like that. The team has to hope that their numerous NHL prospects and solid incoming recruiting class can improve on this season’s disappointing results.