Stalberg The Next to Go
CHN Staff Report
BURLINGTON, Vt. The annual exodus is in full swing in college hockey, with Vermont All-American Viktor Stalberg the latest to depart, it was announced today.
Stalberg, a Hobey Baker Award finalist and First Team All-CHN selection, has signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs, turning down a chance to play his senior year at Vermont.
Stalberg will complete his junior year academically this spring. He plans to continue his education at UVM by taking summer and online courses to earn the remaining credits needed to finish his degree in the near future. Stalberg carries a 3.6 grade point average in business administration.
"After speaking with my family, teammates, and coaching staff, I have decided to sign a professional contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs," Stalberg said. "Although an extremely difficult decision to leave school early, it's a dream come true for me; one that every player hopes to fulfill. I couldn't have accomplished this without the support of my family, friends, teammates, and the coaches and staff here at UVM. ...
"I will miss the fans at Gutterson as well as all of my friends within the program. I will be keeping close tabs on the Cats as I am certain they will be back in the hunt for a NCAA title soon.I also look forward to finishing my degree from one of the best schools in the country."
Said Vermont coach Kevin Sneddon, "While we are disappointed that Vik won't be in a Vermont jersey next season, we are equally thrilled that he has an opportunity to play in the NHL for the Toronto Maple Leafs. ... Viktor's physical and mental maturity will allow him to excel in his professional career while working toward his college degree from UVM."
Stalberg was on a flight Tuesday morning to join the Toronto Marlies, the AHL-affiliate of the Toronto Maple Leafs, for the 2009 Calder Cup Playoffs.
Stalberg ranked fifth in the country in goals (24) and he led Vermont in points with 46. He became just the fourth player in program history to be named a finalist for the Hobey Baker award along with Kirk McCaskill (1982), Eric Perrin (1996) and Martin St. Louis (1995, 1996, 1997).
Stalberg helped lead Vermont to a 22-12-5 record and the second-ever Frozen Four appearance for the Catamounts. The 22 wins were the most since the 1996-97 season and Vermont also posted a fifth straight winning year at the Division I level for the first time in program history.
Stalberg was a sixth-round selection (161 overall) by Toronto in the 2006 NHL Draft. In 117 games with Vermont over three seasons (2006 to 2009), Stalberg collected 84 points (41 goals, 43 assists) and 119 penalty minutes.