With the new year ringing in and the 2019 Winter Classic between the Boston Bruins and the Chicago Blackhawks just minutes away, teams are continuing to shape up their rosters for the new year. Keep tabs on roster moves throughout the day as the NHL schedule begins to get really busy over the next week:
- The Colorado Avalanche announced they have recalled goaltender Pavel Francouz from the Colorado Eagles of the AHL. Head coach Jared Bednar said that Semyon Varlamov was a little banged up and Francouz was recalled as a precaution. The 28-year-old was up earlier this month and was impressive in a relief stint on Dec. 22 when he saved 21 of 22 shots against Arizona in 29 minutes of work. Francouz, who signed as a free agent with Colorado in the offseason out of the KHL has performed well in the AHL as well, posting a 13-7-1 record and a .919 save percentage. With Varlamov expected to hit free agency at the end of the season, Francouz could be a strong candidate to fill the backup role next season.
- The Carolina Hurricanes have assigned forward Janne Kuokkanen to the Charlotte Checkers of the AHL, according to CapFriendly. The 20-year-old prospect has had trouble finding a positive role with the Hurricanes, despite being dominant in the AHL. Kuokkanen has yet to score in seven games and has seen his playing time dwindle to under 10 minutes in the past three games. He will return to Charlotte where he has already equaled his goal output from last year and can continue working on his game. The team followed that up announcing the promotion of Saku Maenalanen from Charlotte to fill Kuokkanen’s shoes. Maenalanen has appeared in just one game for the Hurricanes, but has scored seven goals and 14 points in 31 games for the Checkers.
- While it’s already been reported that the Chicago Blackhawks’ recent trade acquisition Jason Garrison cleared waivers earlier today, NBC Sports Charlie Roumeliotis reports that Blackhawks’ general manager Stan Bowman said Garrison will be assigned to the Rockford Ice Hogs of the AHL. Garrison, picked up in Sunday’s trade with Drake Caggulia for Brandon Manning, has played in 17 games with the Oilers this year. He did play 58 games with the Chicago Wolves last season when playing for the Vegas franchise.
- After two years in the Swiss League, former NHLer Bobby Sanguinetti has returned to North America, as the Charlotte Checkers of the AHL announced they have signed the 30-year-old veteran to an AHL deal. The defenseman, who played 45 games with the New York Rangers and Carolina Hurricanes, played with the Checkers for three years before spending the last two years in Switzerland. Sanguinetti, a former first-round pick in 2006, will hope to resurrect his career there.
- The Nashville Predators announced they have assigned Nicholas Baptiste to the Milwaukee Admirals of the AHL. The team recalled him Monday to serve as an emergency player for their game against Washington, but now have returned the 23-year-old without getting him into a game. Baptiste has played 34 games for Milwaukee and has six goals and 14 points.
- The Minnesota Wild have recalled defenseman Ryan Murphy from AHL Iowa per a team release. This will be the 25-year-old’s first stint in the NHL this season but he has 172 games of NHL experience between Carolina and Minnesota over the past six seasons. Murphy has played in 27 games in the minors this season with three goals and 10 assists.