Haula leaves U, signs two-year deal with Wild

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 8, 2013 - 12:04 AM

After leading the nation’s highest-scoring team in scoring the past two seasons, Erik Haula knew it was time for the next challenge.


Erik Haula, after leading the Gophers in scoring for the past two seasons, signed a two-year, entry-level deal with the Wild that starts next season.

Photo: Jim Gehrz, Star Tribune file

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

– After leading the nation’s highest-scoring team in scoring the past two seasons, Erik Haula knew it was time for the next challenge.

Still, leaving the University of Minnesota for a pro contract with the Wild wasn’t easy, especially since Haula felt like he left his collegiate career incomplete after the Gophers were beaten in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

“Being with the same guys for three years, it’s not easy to leave,” Haula said after arriving in Houston on Sunday. “We’ve had pretty good success lately, and to not get to that last game of the year this year was really disappointing, so that made the leaving part harder.

“But it’s time to take the next step.”

Haula, 22, signed a two-year, entry-level deal that starts next season. In order to get his pro career going, the Pori, Finland, native signed an amateur tryout with the Aeros, the Wild’s American Hockey League affiliate. He is playoff-eligible and can play in the regular-season’s final six games beginning Wednesday against Oklahoma City.

“My dream has always been to have a chance to play in the big leagues and this is the start,” the 2009 seventh-round draft pick said. “I’ve worked hard for it and I’m really excited to get started with a great organization.”

Haula can’t wait to soak everything in and adjust to the pro game in time for the Wild’s training camp next fall.

“I know I have to learn how to play against men, and I’d love to have success right away, but it doesn’t always happen that easily,” Haula said. “It takes time, and I’m willing to put that time in.”

Haula, the second European to play for the Gophers, is 49th on the school’s all-time scoring list with 124 points in 114 games. He scored 42 goals and was the first Gopher since Ryan Potulny (2003-06) to average more than a point a game in his collegiate career.

This past season, Haula ranked second in the NCAA with 35 assists and was the first Gopher to top 50 points (51) since 2005-06. He was plus-20 and an All-WCHA second-team selection.

Haula’s the fifth Gopher to leave since the overtime loss to Yale ended Minnesota’s season. Nate Schmidt signed a free-agent contract with Washington, while Nick Bjugstad (Florida), Zach Budish (Nashville) and Mark Alt (Philadelphia) signed with the teams that drafted them.

“I’m happy with the choice I made three years ago to go with the Gophers,” said Haula, who played at Shattuck-St. Mary’s. “Individually, I think I had three pretty good years and tried to be consistent. That was the big key to my decision to leave.”

Gilbert scratched

With veteran defenseman Tom Gilbert struggling, coach Mike Yeo pulled him from the Wild’s lineup Sunday against Columbus. Gilbert said it was the first time in his career he was a healthy scratch.

“Hopefully this is something that spurs him to get it back,” Yeo said. “I’m not saying that he’s been awful … but I think it was time to make a change. Hopefully this helps him get back on track.”

Gilbert is minus-13, which is tied for 269th out of 275 defensemen.

“I just need to find my game,” Gilbert said. “It hasn’t been my best, let’s put it that way. [I have to get back to] simplicity, good first pass.”

Brett Clark was also scratched; defensemen Justin Falk and Nate Prosser played.

  • related content

  • Haula

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Team Irvin 7:15 PM
Team Carter
Miami 96 FINAL
Chicago 84
Oklahoma City 98 FINAL
Cleveland 108
Dallas 42 2nd Qtr 4:01
New Orleans 49
Indiana 51 2nd Qtr 0:49
Orlando 47
LA Clippers 52 2nd Qtr 0:28
Phoenix 57
Minnesota 40 2nd Qtr 1:54
Atlanta 53
Detroit 6:00 PM
Milwaukee 6:00 PM
San Antonio
Boston 7:00 PM
Golden State
Washington 7:00 PM
Houston 8:30 PM
LA Lakers
Team Toews 11 3rd Prd
Team Foligno 8
South Florida 53 FINAL
Connecticut 66
Boston College 64 FINAL
Georgia Tech 62
Virginia 50 FINAL
Virginia Tech 47
Indiana 70 FINAL
Ohio State 82
Stony Brook 61 FINAL
Binghamton 54
Cincinnati 56 FINAL
UCF 46
Maine 70 FINAL
Hartford 61
Monmouth 64 FINAL
Manhattan 71
Fairfield 67 FINAL
Marist 73
Rowan 48 FINAL
Princeton 96
St Bonaventure 48 FINAL
Rhode Island 53
Duke 77 FINAL
St Johns 68
Saint Peters 69 FINAL
Siena 55
Drake 40 FINAL
Wichita State 74
Vermont 61 FINAL
UMass Lowell 50
Seton Hall 57 FINAL
Butler 77
South Alabama 55
Northern Iowa 54 FINAL
Illinois State 53
Louisville 80 FINAL
Pittsburgh 68
Albany 69
Niagara 64 FINAL
Iona 87
Notre Dame 22 1st Half 4:30
NC State 36
Belmont 10 1st Half 9:56
Tennessee St 21
Creighton 6:00 PM
Northwestern 6:30 PM
Washington 7:30 PM
Senior-North 34 FINAL
Senior-South 13
Seton Hall 99 FINAL
Georgetown 85
St Johns 69 FINAL
Villanova 81
Arkansas 58 FINAL
Florida 72
Maine 56 FINAL
Vanderbilt 55 FINAL
Alabama 52
Lafayette 60 FINAL
Lehigh 65
SMU 57
Utah 51 FINAL
Washington 63
James Madison 73 FINAL
Coll of Charleston 53
Delaware 56 FINAL
Drexel 61
Hofstra 56 FINAL
William & Mary 57
Hartford 58 FINAL
Albany 82
Binghamton 54 FINAL
Stony Brook 67
Towson 63 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 71
Wake Forest 80 FINAL
(17) Florida State 110
Georgia Tech 68 FINAL
Virginia 62
(22) Georgia 51 FINAL
(5) Tennessee 59
Drake 79 FINAL
Evansville 62
Iona 80 FINAL
Canisius 62
Fairfield 33 FINAL
Monmouth 59
Northwestern 75 FINAL
Penn State 76
Wisconsin 71 FINAL
Michigan State 77
Ohio State 79 FINAL
Purdue 71
Northern Iowa 57 FINAL
Indiana State 55
Butler 58 FINAL
Xavier 54
Creighton 93 FINAL
Marquette 75
Providence 42 FINAL
DePaul 90
Northeastern 77 FINAL
Elon 80
(2) Connecticut 96 FINAL
Cincinnati 31
Oregon 78 FINAL
Arizona 81
Bradley 46 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 45
NC State 49 FINAL
(23) Syracuse 66
(7) Maryland 84 FINAL
Indiana 74
Illinois State 35 FINAL
Missouri State 58
Colorado 68 FINAL
Washington St 73
Tulane 45 FINAL
South Florida 64
(14) Kentucky 83 FINAL
Missouri 69
(9) Oregon State 68 FINAL
(13) Arizona State 57
Vermont 63 FINAL
UMass Lowell 72
Iowa State 58 FINAL
(8) Texas 57
Southern Ill 61 FINAL
Wichita State 80
(15) Duke 62 2nd Half 0:55
(12) North Carolina 60
Miami-Florida 53 2nd Half 1:04
(4) Louisville 65
(21) Minnesota 54 2nd Half 3:22
(25) Rutgers 58
California 29 2nd Half
(11) Stanford 7:00 PM
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters





question of the day

Poll: Do you favor the plan for expanded athletic facilities at the U of M?

Weekly Question