The Oilers are not expected to sign 2016 third-round pick Markus Niemelainen, reports Postmedia’s Jim Matheson. The 19-year-old was the 66th overall selection out of Saginaw of the OHL that year but he had a tough post-draft season and wound up being loaned to HPK of the SM-liiga for 2017-18 where he posted three points in 42 games.
Meanwhile, Matheson notes that the blood clot that Edmonton defensive prospect Ryan Mantha sustained earlier this season could be a career-ender. Mantha was originally a fourth-round pick of the Rangers back in 2014 but did not sign with them and wound up joining the Oilers in March of 2017. He last suited up for their AHL affiliate in Bakersfield in early February and tallied ten points in 41 contests.
Elsewhere around the hockey world:
- With the report last week that the Hurricanes are open for business when it comes to player movement, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman noted during a segment with Sportsnet 960 (audio link) that they will be willing to retain on contracts to improve their return, particularly with winger Jeff Skinner. They already have one of their three retention slots used up when they held back 10% of center Marcus Kruger’s contract in the trade with Arizona earlier this month. He also suggested that while winger Sebastian Aho may be considered the lone untouchable off the active roster, center Martin Necas, their 2017 first-round pick, also has that distinction and that teams have been calling regarding his availability.
- After spending this past season on loan with HV 71 of the SHL, Islanders goalie prospect Linus Soderstrom is expected to play in North America next season, notes Newsday’s Andrew Gross. The 21-year-old had stellar numbers in 2016-17 but a shoulder injury didn’t help his cause in 2017-18 as he wound up getting into just 14 games and had a save percentage that was 49 points lower than the previous campaign. With both Kristers Gudlevskis and Christopher Gibson eligible for Group VI unrestricted free agency in July, there should be plenty of playing time available with their AHL affiliate in Bridgeport.