The last few arbitration cases will be wrapped up over the next few days, and the waiting game will truly begin until the start of the 2018-19 season. Though there is plenty going on with the World Junior Summer Showcase and training camps opening in a few weeks, most eyes are still focused on the last few names on the free agent market. We’ll keep track of any minor signings right here.
- Cole Cassels has signed in the German DEL for next season after failing to receive a qualifying offer from the Vancouver Canucks. Originally selected in the third round in 2013, Cassels never did make it to the NHL and recorded just 26 points for the Utica Comets last season. It doesn’t look like there is much of an NHL future for the 23-year old center, unable to make the same offensive impact as his father, Andrew Cassels, a long-time NHL player with over 1,000 games under his belt.
- The New Jersey Devils decided not to give a qualifying offer to 24-year old Mario Lucia, who has now signed on to play in Norway for this year. Lucia, selected in the second round by the Minnesota Wild seven years ago, had a good career at Notre Dame but struggled at the AHL level. Lucia came to the Devils organization earlier this year in a minor league trade, and had just seven points for the team in 23 games.
- The disappointing NHL career of Zach Nastasiuk (or lack there of) is likely over before it began. Nastasiuk, 23, was a second-round draft pick of the Detroit Red Wings back in 2013. A first-rounder in the OHL as well, Nastasiuk had boasted strong production in juniors with the Owen Sound Attack prior to being selected and only improved after his draft year. Yet, when he joined the pro ranks in 2015, the powerful forward’s offense disappeared. Nastasiuk has spent the entirety of his entry-level contract in the minors, playing 102 games in the ECHL compared to 64 in the AHL and has failed to show off any elite ability at either level, instead playing a checking role most of the time. It is no surprise then that the Red Wings did not qualify him this off-season and that has been unable to find another NHL contract. Instead, Nastasiuk has signed with the AHL’s Charlotte Checkers, the team announced. It is a two-way deal as well, meaning Nastiuk could very well spend the bulk of his season with the ECHL’s Florida Everblades instead.