April 3, 2008 PRINT Bookmark and Share

Abdelkader Signs With Wings

CHN Staff Report

EAST LANSING, Mich. — Justin Abdelkader, the Most Outstanding Player of the 2007 Frozen Four for Michigan State, has decided to forgo his final year of college eligibility, signing an amateur tryout agreement with the NHL's Detroit Red Wings.

Abdelkader, a second-round pick of the Red Wings in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft (42nd overall), could play this evening when Detroit plays Columbus.

"It's an amazing feeling to realize my dream of being a Red Wing, and I would like to thank the Detroit organization," Abdelkader said in a statement. "On the flip side, it's difficult to leave Michigan State. My three years there were the best of my life, and not only from a hockey standpoint.

"I'm proud that we were able to win a National Championship, and was thrilled to have the opportunities that were given to me not only by the coaching staff, but also within the University. I want to thank everyone who has been incredibly supportive of me over the last three years."

Abdelkader was an Honorable Mention All-CCHA selection as a junior and won the CCHA's Ilitch Humanitarian Award. He was the Spartans' second-leading scorer this past season with 19 goals and 40 points, while sharing the team lead in game-winning goals (5) and leading the team in penalty minutes (107).

"We're very happy for Justin," Michigan State head coach Rick Comley said. "Obviously, this is one of those situations where we're thrilled for a player who has meant so much to our program and helped us achieve a tremendous amount of success; on the other hand, we're disappointed that he won't be back for his senior year. But, we have nothing but good thoughts and we wish him the absolute best. He has meant a tremendous amount to our program, and we look forward to watching his success as a professional athlete."

Abdelkader leaves behind a strong legacy. His goal with 18.9 seconds left in regulation in last year's NCAA championship game, was the game winner over Boston College.

In 124 career games, Abdelkader had 44 goals and 51 assists for 95 points, with 120 penalties for 281 PIM.

The Spartans were recently eliminated from the NCAA tournament, losing in the West Regional final to Notre Dame.

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