4th year defenseman Brady Austin(3) was left without a qualifying offer from draft team Buffalo Sabres as his three-year entry level deal was expiring.
Unable to pick up a new big league deal the very sizable blue liner agreed to a pto with Cleveland Monsters.
One month in and he rightfully picks up a standard player contract.
He is seemingly off to a bit of a hot start (1 goal, 2 assists in 6 AHL games) for a d-man that isn’t ever known for picking up lots of points.
It’s very possible the 24-year old will take his game to a new level in the minors and play himself into a spot where he gets another NHL look or sets up the best possible overseas league as his new path.
Laval Rocket 7th year defenseman Eric Gelinas(2) signed his first minor league deal since being a New Jersey Devils‘ 2nd round pick in the 2009 draft (#54 overall) and going on to play 3 full seasons in the NHL.
He did relatively well in 2013/2014 scoring 7 goals and 22 assists in 60 games with a -3 but his numbers dropped to 6 goals, 13 assists in 61 appearances for the next campaign.
The big 6’4″ 225 lbs. blue liner was dealt to Colorado Avalanche shortly after signing a tidy two-year deal and things continue to go south, as he was reassigned down to affiliate San Antonio Rampage for a split session.
At 26-years old he found himself as an unrestricted free agent invited to attend Montreal Canadiens‘ training camp but was released and reported to their affiliate, where he agreed to terms.
It’s highly doubtful the former 2011 QMJHL Champion will stick around for more than a single season, as heading over to Europe would likely see him play a bit higher level of hockey and give him more money.
Florida Panthers‘ undrafted 2nd year left wing Dryden Hunt(73) receives his first NHL recall after getting off to a hot start with affiliate Springfield Thunderbirds.
He has 5 goals and 3 assists in 13 AHL games including a hat trick and two helper effort.
Signed to a 3-year entry level deal through 2019, the 6′ 197 lbs. forward hasn’t exactly had it super-easy.
As a rookie he scored a tidy 13 goals and 8 assists in 70 games but was also reassigned further down to Manchester Monarchs for a couple of ECHL games to regain confidence.
He would score to goals in his brief stint in the lower league.
There’s little doubt he has the ability to connect on a regular basis.
He was the top goal scorer in the WHL with 58 tallies as a fourth year junior with Moose Jaw Warriors.
The still super-young 21-year old plays with plenty of pep and never fails to agitate an opponent.
Undrafted 3rd year Austria-born right wing Peter Schneider(7) started the new season returning to Kalamazoo Wings, where he put up a career high 21 goals and 34 assists in 61 ECHL games (10 with Florida Everglades) last season.
In 5 contests this season he already has himself 7 assists with a +4 rating but has decided to take his game back to his homeland joining Vienna Capitals of Erste Band Eishockey Liga.
There’s little doubt the former University Of Notre Dame assistant captain as a senior will detonate the score sheet in this league.
Whether we see the 26-year old return to North American pro hockey is a question that only time and what he decides to pursue after he hangs up the skates.
5th year left wing Lucas Lessio(36) started the current calendar with Dinamo Riga after a decent run in the previous campaign for Medvescak Zagreb grabbing 12 goals and 10 assists in 40 KHL games before leaving for Orebro HK of the SHL.
His time with the new Russian squad only lasted 13 contests with less than impressive results.
After just under a month on the sidelines looking for a new suitor, he agrees to terms with Kunlun Redstar.
The 24-year old will definitely have to start hitting the score sheet with more frequency and potentially improve that plus/minus rating or be happy playing in a lower league overseas.
Florida Panthers‘ 4th round pick in the 2013 draft (#93 overall) goaltender Evan Cowley(31) backstops the penalty shot attempt by Jacksonville IceMen undrafted center Everett Clark(17) during Friday night’s hard fought Manchester Monarchs‘ 2-1 ECHL home team victory.
6th year Swedish-born defenseman Calle Andersson(55) agreed to stay on another season with SC Bern after helping them win the 2017 NLA Championship last season.
He was also just recently extended through 2018/2019, as he’s off to a bit of a hot start in the new calendar.
In 14 games he’s tied last year’s 2 goals and added 4 assists.
The very decently-sized 6’2″ 217 lbs. blue liner was almost ironically bought out of the final year of his entry level deal with New York Rangers after being reassigned to affiliate Hartford Wolf Pack and recorded three assists in 4 AHL games but was obviously very unhappy spending one more second in the minors.
He played the first year of his contract in Switzerland for a pair of clubs but also had two previous years of pro experience in the SHL with Farjestad BK and a follow-up campaign hometown and junior squad Malmo Redhawks.
At 23-years old, he’s still pretty young and could get another look at the NHL level before it’s a full European career for this skater.
Florida Panthers‘ 4th round pick in the 2015 draft (#102 overall) Swiss-born 5th year center Denis Malgin(62) is working hard to stay up with the big club in his sophomore season in the system.
The small, speedy 5’9″ 177 lbs. forward started the campaign with affiliate Springfield Thunderbirds but that lasted all of three games before being recalled.
He played 47 NHL games as a North American rookie scoring 6 goals and 4 assists including one in overtime and a game-winner with a -5 rating.
Coming over with 3 year of pro experience in NLA and NLB, the expectation might have been higher for him but considering he’s up on another level, he seems to be right on pace.
At 20-years old and still another year on his entry level deal, it would be surprising if he didn’t start to find the open spots on the ice for more scoring chances.
Arizona Coyotes‘ undrafted 3rd year defenseman Dakota Mermis(43) was a late-ish cut from training camp and although not the biggest point getter is off to a good star with affiliate Tuscon Roadrunners scoring a goal and 2 assists in 10 AHL games.
His strong start has earned him a first NHL recall
In two games he’s played around 10 minutes in each appearance with 2 shots, 1 hit, 2 breakups, and 1 giveaway in a loss and a shootout win.
The almost unassuming 6′ 196 lbs. blue liner has a perchance for winning titles with his first coming in American junior hockey with Green Bay Gamblers, when he netted the 2012 USHL Clark Cup, then the next season after leaving a short stint at University Of Denver, he joined London Knights and won the 2013 OHL Championship then did it again in 2015 with Oshawa Generals.
He would also grab the 2015 Memorial Cup.
At 23-years old he may not be on a big league squad that’s going to excel any time soon, but if he has to spend anymore time in the minors could see his name on another trophy sooner than later.
He is set to become a restricted free agent at the end of the current campaign.
9th year defensemen John Negrin(8) took a little time to figure out where to skate fro 2017/2018.
He chose to leave North American pro hockey for the first time signing a one-year deal with Lorenskog IK of GET-ligaen.
The blue liner spent the last four seasons under contract with Utica Comets but missed all but 22 AHL games in 2016/2017 due to injury.
Never exactly a huge point getter, he should be able to connect with the score sheet more frequently in Norway’s top league.