Union College hockey junior goalie Troy Grosenick has had some agonizing decisions to make the last few days.
He wrestled with whether he wanted to come back for his senior season and help the Dutchmen try for a third straight ECAC Hockey tournament title and another shot to make the NCAA hockey tournament Frozen Four, or take a chance and sign with an NHL club.
On Monday, Grosenick’s decision was officially revealed.
Grosenick signed with the San Jose Sharks, and will forego his senior season. The deal was first reported Friday.
The entry-level deal is for three years. Financial terms weren’t disclosed. The contract starts now. However, he won’t report to San Jose or the team’s AHL affiliate in Worcester, Mass., this season. He will join the Sharks for training camp in September.
Grosenick is the second Union player to be signed by San Jose. Center T.J. Fox left after his sophomore season in 2006-07 to join the Sharks.
“It was a real tough decision,” the 23-year-old Grosenick said at a press conference at Messa Rink. “Leaving a group of brothers in the locker room is, mainly, the hardest part. I owe a great deal to those guys. I love every single one of them.
“As far as why now, I just felt like it was the right opportunity and the right time. I talked with my family about it, and I talked to other people that I respect. I just got the feeling it was the right time for me to move on, and I went with it.”
Several teams were interested in Grosenick. The decision came down to the Sharks and the Edmonton Oilers.
“San Jose, I just felt like, gave me the best opportunity,” Grosenick said. “I felt like that came though loud and clear with them.”
Grosenick, a Brookfield, Wis., native, grew up a Chicago Blackhawks fan.
“Growing up north of Chicago, I was dreaming of playing for the Blackhawks,” Grosenick said. “But when you get to this level, you just want to have the opportunity to play pro, and I couldn’t be any happier. San Jose is a first-class organization. I can’t wait to get to work.”
The Sharks are happy to have Grosenick.
“We think that Troy is a quality goaltender, and we are excited to bring him into the fold,” Sharks general manager Doug Wilson said in a statement. “He has excelled the past couple seasons at Union playing for coach Rick Bennett and his staff, and we feel he can be a valuable member of our organization.”
This is the third straight year Union has lost a player to an NHL organization before their college eligibility was up. Junior center Jeremy Welsh signed with the Carolina Hurricanes hours after the Dutchmen lost to Ferris State in last year’s Frozen Four semifinals. Sophomore goalie Keith Kinkaid signed with the New Jersey Devils a couple of weeks after Union’s loss to Minnesota Duluth in the 2011 NCAA East Regional semifinals.
“It shows that [the program] is growing, not that we want to be Kentucky basketball here, where you’re one and done,” Bennett said. “But at the same token, it happens throughout
college hockey and some other sports. We just have to make sure that we’re prepared for that.”
The 23-year-old Grosenick played in 71 career games, and had a 39-16-9 record with a 1.89 goals-against average, a .930 save percentage and seven shutouts. With Grosenick in goal, the Dutchmen won the last two ECACH tournament titles. He was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player after making 66 of 67 saves in last month’s championship round against Yale and Brown.
Grosenick barely played his freshman year in 2010-11. Sitting behind Kinkaid and senior Corey Milan, Grosenick made three appearances, only one of them a start, and was 0-0-1 with a 2.12 goals-against average.
After Kinkaid signed with the Devils, Grosenick took the No. 1 job and skated off with it last season. He went 22-6-3 with a 1.65 GAA, a .936 save percentage and five shutouts. He was named the Ken Dryden Award winner as ECACH goalie of the year after posting an 11-3-1 record with a 1.60 GAA, a .940 save percentage and four shutouts.
Grosenick was named a Hobey Baker Award top-10 finalist, the first Dutchmen player to achieve that honor. He was also a first-team All-America.
Grosenick didn’t have the same type of numbers this season. Still, he went 17-10-5 with a 2.12 GAA, a .926 save percentage and two shutouts. He played his best hockey during Union’s late-season seven-game winning streak. He went 6-0 with a 1.03 GAA, .966 save percentage and one shutout.
Grosenick believes sophomore Colin Stevens, a Niskayuna native, is ready to inherit the No. 1 job from him. Stevens was 5-3 this season with a 1.62 goals-against average in 12 games. He posted three shutouts.
“Everyone in this program knows that Colin Stevens is a great goalie,” Grosenick said. “I don’t want to put any pressure on him. You guys saw that this year, that his confidence really came out. He played great for us. He’s a great goalie, and he’s going to take this program to new levels.”
Grosenick, a managerial economics major, will complete his degree by taking classes over the summer.
“That was another reason San Jose really cared about my career and my own ambitions,” Grosenick said, “to get my degree, to focus on that and come in fully prepared next year.”