Hobey Baker finalist Jackson Blake signs with Hurricanes

Hobey Baker Award finalist and University of North Dakota forward Jackson Blake signed his entry-level contract with the Carolina Hurricanes, the club announced Wednesday.

Blake's contract will start this season. He'll make $775,000 at the NHL level this season and earn $832,500 at the NHL level in the 2024-25 and the 2025-26 seasons. He'll earn $80,000 at the AHL level for all three seasons, and his deal also includes a $277,500 signing bonus.

"Jackson is an explosive playmaker who has played a key role in North Dakota's success over the past two seasons," Hurricanes general manager Don Waddell said in a statement. "Hockey is in his blood, and we can't wait to see how his game continues to grow at the next level."

Jackson's dad, Jason Blake, played in 871 NHL games from 1998-99 through 2011-12, and also represented Team USA in the World Championships and Olympic Games in 2006.

Blake was a fourth-round pick by the Hurricanes in 2021 who used his two seasons at UND to emerge into one of the nation's premier collegiate players.

He scored 16 goals and led the Fighting Hawks with 42 points in 39 games as a freshman during the 2022-23 season, a campaign that saw UND miss out on the NCAA Division I men's tournament.

A year later, Blake was one of the major reasons why UND was among the nation's top 10 teams. His 22 goals and 38 assists for 60 points was not only the most on the UND roster, but he was only one of four players nationally to have 60 points at the time of his signing.

North Dakota finished the season winning the NCHC regular-season title before losing in the finals of the conference tournament. UND returned to the tournament where it lost to Michigan in the opening game of the Midwest Regional Semifinal in Maryland Heights, Mo.

Blake's performance also led to him being named a Hobey Baker Award finalist alongside Boston University star freshman center Macklin Celebrini and Boston College star sophomore winger Cutter Gauthier.

Celebrini is expected to be the No. 1 pick of this summer's NHL Draft while Gauthier was the fifth pick of the 2022 NHL Draft by the Philadelphia Flyers before he was traded to the Anaheim Ducks this season.

The Hobey Baker Award winner will be announced Friday.