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Wyatt Kalynuk photo

Badgers defenseman Wyatt Kalynuk, left, was named the team's 2018-19 MVP.

Wyatt Kalynuk will be the University of Wisconsin men's hockey captain for the 2019-20 season, and the defenseman shut down any speculation about him signing with the NHL's Philadelphia Flyers this offseason.

The Badgers named Kalynuk next season's team leader on Tuesday and added fellow juniors-to-be Tarek Baker and Sean Dhooghe as alternate captains.

Kalynuk talked with the Flyers, who drafted him in the seventh round in 2017, about his future but he said the sides didn't get too far into discussions about a signing.

"I wanted to make it clear that I wanted to come back for at least another year," Kalynuk said. "The way we get treated here, the team we have, the coaches we have, the potential our team has next year, this is where I want to be. I think it's just such a great opportunity that I'd be silly to walk away from it."

Kalynuk, a second-team All-Big Ten pick and the Badgers' MVP this season, will get to lead a group that is scheduled to add three likely first-round picks in forwards Alex Turcotte, Cole Caufield and Dylan Holloway.

He has been a stalwart of the defensive corps over his two seasons with UW, both of which finished with him among the team's leading point-getters on teams that finished below .500.

On a team that prioritized offense from its defensemen, Kalynuk was second with nine goals and tied for third with 25 points this season. He led the Badgers with 22 assists in 2017-18, when he was named to the Big Ten's all-freshman team and was an honorable mention all-league pick.

He said what he worked on most this season — and what he still needs the most work at — is his play in the defensive zone.

As captain, Kalynuk said he'll take cues from what he learned from previous leaders at UW — Peter Tischke this season and Cameron Hughes the year before — and what he picked up as an alternate captain with Bloomington in the United States Hockey League.

There's a balance, he said, of being available for players who need help and being the one who has to give them a kick in the pants when they need it.

"I think just trying to keep the team even keel throughout the year will be the main thing I would want to do, the main thing I've learned from the past leaders," Kalynuk said.

Kalynuk and fellow defenseman K'Andre Miller were the two NHL-drafted Badgers players whose decisions on whether to return next season were scrutinized the most. UW coach Tony Granato said two weeks ago that he was "pretty confident" both would be with his team in the fall.

For Kalynuk, the answer didn't take long.

"It was pretty clear in my mind," he said. "I didn't really have to think too much about it."

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