MARQUETTE - The Detroit Red Wings have reached a tentative agreement with Northern Michigan University junior goaltender Jared Coreau, who will be in the Motor City today, according to a source within the Wildcats hockey program.
TSN's Bob McKenzie first reported Monday evening of the deal between Detroit and the NMU starting goalie, who has one more year of NCAA eligibility left, but has decided to forgo his senior season to turn pro.
In an interview last week with The Mining Journal, Coreau said he had seven teams, including the Wings, interested in him following the Wildcats' first-round CCHA playoff series loss at Michigan.
NMU junior goaltender Jared Coreau
Coreau said at the time he wanted a fair shot at the NHL and would sign with the organization that gave him that kind of opportunity.
The Red Wings appear to be that organization.
"Really it just comes down to where I will get an opportunity to play and I'll take it from there," Coreau said. "There is no certainly yet where it could be. It's exciting. I'm kind of nervous.
"I want to have a chance and know what I have to do in terms of work and everything. I'd like to hear that the NHL teams and representatives are in the AHL, they are involved a lot with the AHL team and at games watching you develop."
Grand Rapids Griffins first-year head coach Jeff Blashill contacted NMU head coach Walt Kyle the Monday after the Wildcats' season-ending loss to Michigan to inquire about Coreau.
Blashill is also a former assistant coach at Ferris State and Miami. He was head coach of Western Michigan for one season before becoming an assistant for the Red Wings.
The Griffins are the AHL affiliate of the Red Wings. According to the source inside the NMU hockey program, the 6-foot-4, 208-pound Coreau could start his pro career in Detroit before joining the Griffins at a later date.
Coreau, 21, attended rookie camps in Edmonton and Calgary after his sophomore year. After his freshmen year, he attended rookie camps put on by the New York Rangers and San Jose Sharks.
In addition to the Oilers, Flames, Rangers and Sharks, the Perth, Ontario native was being pursued by the Winnipeg Jets and Chicago Blackhawks.
"It's sad," Coreau said last week about leaving NMU. "There are great guys here. It's too bad because I think next year is going to be a big year for Northern. We'll be going into a league that we should be top three."
Coreau started all 38 games for Northern this season and finished with a 2.70 goals against average, .919 save percentage and 15-19-4 record.
As a junior, Coreau allowed an average of 2.22 goals per game with a .928 save percentage and 12-7-2 record.
"When you look at his numbers and you look at some of the games that he played and what he had in front of him and what he did, he had a really good year," said Northern Michigan head coach Walt Kyle last week in evaluating Coreau's season and future.
"To me, if he was back, he could be an All-American. He's made a great step and great progress."
Matt Wellens can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 252. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/mattwellens