Cody Goloubef signed a three-year entry-level contract with the NHL's Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday and will forego his senior season at the University of Wisconsin.
The 20-year-old defenseman was the Blue Jackets' second-round pick (37th overall) in the 2008 entry draft.
"Cody comes from a very successful program at Wisconsin and we believe it is the right time for him to begin his professional career," Columbus general manager Scott Howson said in a statement.
Goloubef (pronounced Go-luh-bef) becomes the first underclassman to leave the Badgers this offseason, and his departure does not come as a surprise. Fellow junior defenseman Brendan Smith, a first-round pick of the Detroit Red Wings and one of the top scoring blueliners in the nation, also is expected to bypass his final year in Madison.
Two other players -- junior defenseman and co-captain Ryan McDonagh, and sophomore center Derek Stephan -- could reasonably make the jump to the NHL ranks, although Stepan has consistently maintained that he plans to return.
UW is losing seven players to graduation, including Hobey Baker Award winning forward Blake Geoffrion, from a team that advanced to the NCAA championship game before falling to Boston College.
Two key members of the Badgers' coaching staff also departed. Top assistant coach and recruiting coordinator Mark Osiecki was hired as Ohio State's head coach last weekend, while assistant coach Kevin Patrick announced during the season he would assume the head coaching job at the expansion United States Hockey League junior team in Muskegon, Mich.
Goloubef had three goals and 11 assists in 42 games as a junior for the Badgers, amassed 64 penalty minutes and was a plus-13.
In 118 career games at Wisconsin, Goloubef posted 12 goals, 37 points and 180 penalty minutes.
A native of Oakville, Ontario, he helped Team Canada win the 2009 World Junior Championship, registering an assist and a plus-10 rating in six games.