Gopher Hockey: Mark Alt signs with Philadelphia Flyers


It appears that another junior defender on the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers has signed a professional contract. Mark Alt is the latest blueline body to leave for professional hockey, just a handful of days after Nate Schmidt signed with the Washington Capitals.

Reports surfaced on Friday that Alt has signed with the Philadelphia Flyers. The entry-level contract has not been announced by the Flyers or the NHL just yet, but expect that to likely happen tomorrow. Terms of the contract will likely come out during the week.

The St. Paul native was a two-sport star at Cretin-Derham Hall and is the son of former NFL offensive lineman John Alt. Like his father, Mark was a standout football player in high school winning a state championship with CDH as a quarterback. Unlike his dad, he choose the sport of hockey and was a physical presence on defense for the Gophers for the last three years.

Alt recorded 7 goals and 32 assists in his career at Minnesota in 117 games. His scoring tapered off this season recording just 7 assists and no goals. He played a role as more of a shutdown defender for the Gophers this year and was not relied on to produce as much offensively.

The Flyers acquired the rights to Alt in a trade with the Carolina Hurricanes back in January of this year. Alt was drafted in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft at No. 53 overall by the Hurricanes. Just one spot ahead of Gophers teammate Justin Holl who was selected at No. 54 by the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Hurricanes packaged Alt along with veteran goaltender Brian Boucher in the trade to Philadelphia to get prospect Luke Pither.

The loss of Alt and Schmidt to the NHL early, along with Seth Helgeson to graduation will leave the Gophers short-handed on their roster for some pretty high-end defensive talent. Especially defenders with the size of Helgeson and Alt.

Helgeson just signed yesterday with the Albany Devils of the AHL. The Devils are the AHL minor league affiliate of the New Jersey Devils who drafted Helgeson back in 2009.

Alt will likely also be heading to the AHL to join the Adirondack Phantoms as a defenseman. The Phantoms are the Flyers minor league affiliate.

The other Gophers to leave early from the program this week were junior forwards Nick Bjugstad and Zach Budish.