Danis Zaripov has entered the NHL free agent market after being cleared to sign despite a two-year ban in the KHL, and he is one of the most interesting wildcards this late in the summer. Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the Lightning have checked in on him, but there has been no contract talks between the two sides.
More interestingly, Igor Eronko of Sport-Express quotes Evgeni Malkin saying that he would “like to see Danis Zaripov in Penguins. I’d enjoy plaing with him on one line.” Zaripov isn’t the answer the Penguins need at center, but would be an interesting addition to their wing depth.
- Jeff Cox reports that Vegas Golden Knights draft pick Nick Campoli will not be attending Clarkson University as originally planned, and instead will play for the Sioux City Musketeers this season. Campoli was a sixth-round pick this summer, and had played in the OJHL to maintain his college eligibility. Cox reports that he will attempt to take enough courses to regain eligibility and join Clarkson in 2018-19.
- Blaine Byron explains to Chris Johnston of Sportsnet why he made the decision to pass up an entry-level contract to sign an AHL deal with the Florida Panthers. Byron considers Florida his best shot at making the NHL, and could see a clear path there for him. The huge number of University of Maine alumni in the management and coaching staff probably helped him feel that way, but there is also a clear need for NHL-level forwards in the Florida system. Byron could make the jump sooner than later, meaning an entry-level deal could be signed before long anyway.