Chicago Inks Luke Johnson to ELC

Luke Johnson has signed a three-year, entry-level contract with the Chicago Blackhawks, the team announced Friday.

Johnson was a 5th round draft pick (134th overall) for Chicago back in 2013.

He becomes the fourth underclassmen to exit the University of North Dakota following their national championship victory this season, their first since 2000. He joins Paul LaDue, Troy Stecher and Keaton Thompson in exiting the program early.

He put up 11 goals and 21 points this season for the Fighting Hawks, and played a pivotal role in their success. He played a strong game in the team’s semifinal in the NCAA tournament, helping to shut down Denver’s vaunted Pacific Rim line. However, Johnson was injured in the game and wasn’t able to play in their national championship win over Quinnipiac.

“He plays consistent every single game that he plays,” said North Dakota coach Brad Berry after the team’s semifinal win at the Frozen Four. “It seems like this time of year he really plays well. And I think he likes the high-pressure situations.”

In his three-year career with North Dakota he played 127 games, scoring 30 goals and 66 points with a plus-19 rating. He was an asset on the power play as well, leading all active North Dakota players in power play points.

He may not be ready to jump up into the NHL full-time right now, but with Chicago’s cap issues, opportunities present themselves for players on entry-level deals to take unexpected pro time with some frequency.