I'm a little surprised at the early departures in the WCHA this year. I know it's not uncommon, and for all I know, the number of players leaving is lower than in years past, but it's something I don't like to see. I'm a firm believer in sticking around for 4 years. Put in your 4 years, get your degree, and see where it takes you after that. Unless you are a superstar and can make an immediate impact in the NHL (Toews, Parise, Vanek, Wheeler, Kessel, Oshie) you should stick around college.
It seems that some programs emphasize this a little more than others, and I think UND is one of those teams. When I hear Hak talk about players having the best time of their lives at UND and how they only get 4 years of this, it makes me feel better and have faith in the college hockey program.
I hope VandeVelde sticks around. I'm sure he can make an impact in the NHL, but for selfish reasons, I hope he stays.