MARQUETTE - Despite missing most of the 2013-14 season due to a knee injury, Northern Michigan University senior defenseman C.J. Ludwig has signed on to join the American Hockey League's Oklahoma City Barons for the 2014-15 season. The Barons are the AHL affiliate of the Edmonton Oilers.
According to an NMU hockey source, Ludwig met with the Oilers' organization last week and passed his physical. Ludwig (6-feet, 195 pounds) captained the Wildcats in 2013-14 until he suffered a season-ending right knee injury on Nov. 29 against Ferris State at the Berry Events Center in Marquette.
Bulldogs junior forward Dom Panetta collided with Ludwig's right knee to the right of the NMU goal while both players were chasing down a puck with under four minutes to play in regulation. Ludwig had to be helped off the ice, unable to put any weight on the injured knee.
Northern Michigan University senior defenseman C.J. Ludwig, left, chats with junior forward Ryan Kesti during a break in the action against Nebraska-Omaha on Oct. 18 at the Berry Events Center in Marquette. Ludwig has signed a professional contract with the Oklahoma City Barons of the AHL, an affiliate of the Edmonton Oilers. (Journal file photo by Adelle Whitefoot)
In 120 career games as a Wildcat, Ludwig recorded 10 goals and 29 points, with five of those goals and seven of those assists coming in the 13 games he played his senior season.
Ludwig's father, Craig, played in the NHL from 1982-1999 with the Montreal Canadiens for eight years, a season with the New York Islanders, and two with the Minnesota North Stars before the team moved to Dallas, where he played another six seasons.
Craig Ludwig hails from Rhinelander, Wis. He played for the University of North Dakota, but raised CJ in Little Elm, Texas.
Ludwig is the first of two Wildcats seniors turning pro so far.
Ludwig's replacement as captain, senior forward Stephan Vigier, has agreed to terms with the South Carolina Stingrays of the ECHL, according to an NMU hockey source. The deal has not been announced, but Vigier is slated to join the organization this weekend and could make his professional debut.
Update: The South Carolina Stingrays announced Vigier's signing Friday morning: www.stingrayshockey.com/news/teamnews/?article_id=2786.