Buffalo Sabres‘ 7th round pick in the 2012 draft (#193 overall), extra big 6’4″ 234 lbs. 3rd year defenseman Brady Austin(67) had a strong NHL debut skating 27 shifts for 15:37 total ice with 3 shots, 2 penalty minutes and 1 hit in a 2-1 win.
The upcoming restricted free agent had a pair of 20, one 20+ year as an overage skater in the OHL but is most considered a strong, stay-at-home style blue liner.
He’s played 199 AHL games with affiliate Rochester Americans scoring 5 goals and 25 assists on a squad that will miss the playoffs for a third straight season with him in the ranks.
The soon-to-be 24-year old is set to become a restricted free agent at the end of 2016/2017, when his entry level deal expires but it looks like almost a sure bet to pick up at least a one-year extension to continue.
Boston Bruins‘ undrafted rookie center Noel Acciari(55) has been just the kind of spark plug the team was looking for to complete their roster.
Playing mostly limited minutes on an average of 15 shifts per contest, he’s effectively making his presence felt using his small-ish 5’10” but wide 208 lbs. frame to break up plays and agitate the opposing offense despite only notching an assist in 7 NHL games.
He has 6 penalty minutes and a +1 rating.
The team has also magically posted a 5-0-2 record in his time up with the big club.
He has proven he knows how to win as the Providence College squad he skated with for four years won the 2014 NCAA Championship and he was regionally voted as the best defensive forward.
The 24-year old has seemingly played a similar role on reassignment to affiliate Providence Bruins but has also decently affected the score sheet in his first season with 7 goals, 12 assists and a +8 rating in 42 AHL games.
Signed to a 2-year entry level deal he likely just looking forward to become a fixture on the roster.
7th year defenseman Yann Sauve(4) played most of his games in 2014/2015 season in the AHL (17 with Springfield Falcons, 5 St. John’s IceCaps and 4 for Providence Bruins) and spent only 13 games with contract squad Orlando Solar Bears.
He followed that up run agreeing to another ECHL deal this time with Manchester Monarchs and a pair of short stints lacing up for Portland Pirates and Stockton Heat.
The decently sized blue liner didn’t seem to mind his time in New Hampshire as he exploded offensively with a career high 7 goals and 22 assists.
That display definitely helped him grab a deal with Medvescak Zagreb of the KHL for 2016/2017.
He played 25 games scoring a goal and 2 assists and when that calendar was waning without a playoff berth, re-signed and returned to the Monarchs.
After only a pair of games with a 2 assists, the 27-year old heads back overseas signing with EHC Munchen of the DEL for some postseason hockey.
He could re-appear again.
Ottawa Senators‘ undrafted 2nd year right wing Casey Bailey(37) skated his first big league contest since playing 6 games with Toronto Maple Leafs after finishing up an outstanding third year at Penn State University and subsequently signing a 2-year entry level deal.
In 6 games to wrap up the 2014/2015 season he would score his first NHL goal.
Reassigned to start his rookie campaign with affiliate Toronto Marlies, he scored 4 goals and 14 assists in 38 AHL match-ups but was involved in a major trade that sent him to Canada’s state capital for the remainder of 2015/2016.
Taking up where he left off in the minors, he would better his scoring output with 7 goals and another 14 assists for Binghamton Senators.
A late training camp cut, he rejoined the Baby Sens to start 2016/2017 with a brand new 1-year extension and looks to eclipse his first year scoring marks with already 9 tallies in 25 games.
The hot start has earned him a first recall.
In his debut he skated 13 shifts for 8:35 minutes of ice time with one shot on net and one takeaway.
The 25-year old looks to be just getting started.
Tampa Bay Lightning 7th round pick in the 2013 draft (#186 overall) 6th year Swiss-born right wing Joel Vermin(92) picks up his first NHL recall and looks to be staying for a spell.
After a quick start with farm team Syracuse Crunch (3 goals, 7 assists in 12 AHL games with a +2 plus/minus), he already looking to eclipse marks set in his rookie year in North America, where he connected for 12 tallies and 21 helpers.
In 2 games with the parent club he skated 15 shifts for 11:18 of total ice time with 1 assist (on the game-winning goal in his 2nd appearance), 1 shot on net, 2 hits, 1 giveaway, 2 minutes of power play time and a +1 rating. Both games were also victories.
The not exactly huge 5’11” 192 lbs. forward skated 5 seasons in his country’s top league for hometown team Bern racking up some decent numbers (31 goals, 50 assists in 177 games with a +32) and won the 2013 NLA Championship.
At 23-years old he signed a three-year entry level deal that makes him a restricted free agent at the end of the current campaign and looks to be in line for a nice extension to continue.
Florida Panthers‘ 10th year Czech Republic-born defenseman Jakub Kindl(4) is in the final year of a four-year extension he signed in 2013/2014 with draft team Detroit Red Wings (1st round 2005, #19 overall).
He was traded late last season after 8.5 seasons in Michigan.
The fairly large 6’3″ 198 lbs. blue liner has never been the biggest point producer, playing a bit more of a stay-at-home style.
He was mostly on a slingshot recalled and reassigned between minor league affiliate Grand Rapid Griffins and the parent club for most of his time in the Wings‘ system but did skate exclusively in the NHL from 2011-2014.
After being dealt, he appeared in only big league games and one playoff match-up but was sent to farm club Springfield Thunderbirds to start 2016/2017.
The 29-year old is a veteran of 292 games in the show with a nice +25 rating and 256 AHL games with a not so nice -59.
It’s a bit doubtful he’ll score a new contract for next season unless he shows some remarkable uptick in his play and could easily head back to the Czech Extraliga, where he was part of 27 games with HC Pardubice for the lockout of 2012/2013 and also played some of his junior hockey.
4th year left wing Lucas Lessio(14) was left unqualified by Montreal Canadiens heading into restricted free agency after being dealt a couple of months into 2015/2016 from draft team Arizona Coyotes.
The decently big power forward was given a training camp invite by Los Angeles Kings but released to affiliate Ontario Reign to continue.
A week later he was released from his pto.
Tough to say where things went south for the former high draft selection after a good rookie season with an AHL career high 29 goals and 25 assists for 54 points with Portland Pirates, then 26 NHL games and another good run in the minors.
Maybe it was his on ice accountability, which sits at a -11 in the big league and a very lousy -38 rating with three different farm clubs.
The former 2009 OHL Champion and 2011 Hlinka Memorial Tournament Gold Medal winner with Team Canada didn’t take long to pick up a new deal after a series of unsuccessful tryouts.
The 23-year old heads overseas on a one-year deal with Medvescak Zagreb of the KHL in hopes to turn the corner.
Undrafted 3rd year center Cory Kane(8) picks up his game after two seasons of AHL contracts and heads to Czech Extraliga signing a one-year deal with HC Ocelari Trinec.
The 6’1″ 201 lbs. feisty forward started his pro career playing 4 regular season games then 12 Calder Cup Playoff match-ups on an ato with Providence Bruins after four years and a decently successful senior campaign at Ferris State University.
He would sign an extension just before his rookie season and played a career high 55 games scoring 7 goals and 12 assists with a +11 rating but was also reassigned down to South Carolina Stingrays for 6 ECHL games.
Although he wasn’t retained for a second run in Rhode Island, it didn’t take him long into free agency to secure a contract with Texas Stars.
The soon to be 26-year old should find the challenge of going overseas rewarding as he’ll probably be able to open up enough space to post some pretty good numbers.
Undrafted 3rd year defenseman Gabriel Verplaest(27) had his most productive offensive season with Norfolk Admirals‘ in 2015/2016.
Through 57 ECHL games he scored a career high 6 goals and 28 big assists for 34 points, tripling his stats from his rookie campaign with Bakersfield Condors.
The 6’1″ 195 lbs. blue liner never showed the kind of production he’s had since turning pro in four years in the QMJHL with Baie-Comeau Drakkar, where his best showing was 19 assists in his final run.
He was loaned to Stockton Heat late-ish into his sophomore season but failed to register a point in 8 AHL appearances.
He did get into one scrap, which mirrors the aggressive playing style he played in juniors and in the lower league, which was good for 15 fights in each of his first two years.
The still super-young 22-year old re-signs to stay put in Virginia for 2016/2o17, but should gain a training camp invite and could raise his game.
Boston Bruins‘ 4th round pick in the 2011 draft (#121 overall) right wing Brian Ferlin(19) was enjoying a good first season before getting sidelined for the Calder Cup Playoffs with a hit that unknowingly knocked him for a loop in the final game of the regular campaign.
As a rookie he potted 11 goals and 9 assists in 53 contests, while also grabbing a first recall for 7 appearances and his first NHL point, an assist.
The 6’2″ 209 lbs. forward sat for the majority of his sophomore run, finally returning four months later.
In 23 AHL games with affiliate Providence Bruins he scored 6 goals and 8 assists and reversed his -9 rating from a year earlier to a +9, while continuing to impress the parent club.
He enjoyed a first offensive breakout in his 2nd year of play for Indiana Ice with 25 goals and 48 assists in 53 USHL games before leaving for Cornell University.
Through 3 years of college hockey he also showed good productivity and was ready to leave school for his chance to turn pro in 2014/2015.
The 24-year old was slated to compete for a spot on the big league roster last season but post-concussion syndrome derailed that opportunity for the moment.
A late training camp cut for his two seasons in the system, he should make waves in the upcoming run.
Not bad for a Jacksonville, FL native.