The Denver Pioneers were eliminated from the NCAA Frozen Four tournament last night by an overtime goal from Marc Del Gazio of the UMass Minutemen. That means their players are free to sign entry-level contracts with NHL clubs, including top prospect Ian Mitchell. The Chicago Blackhawks draft pick told Scott Powers of The Athletic (subscription required) earlier in the year that he wanted to play with them “as soon as [he] can” though nothing had been decided yet on his future. The 20-year old was the 57th overall pick in 2017 and recorded 27 points in 39 games for DU this season.
What the win also means is that Cale Makar is moving on to the NCAA final and can’t join the Colorado Avalanche until at least after tomorrow’s championship game. The young defenseman is expected to join Colorado right away and could potentially jump into their series against the Calgary Flames. That’s still on the back of his mind though, as the Minutemen prepare for Minnesota-Duluth.
- The Edmonton Oilers sent Connor McDavid for second and third opinions on his leg injury this week according to Sportsnet, though they do not have any information on what exactly is wrong with the superstar forward. McDavid injured the leg when he slid into the post during the team’s last game of the season, and will not be suiting up for Canada at the upcoming IIHF World Championship.
- Igor Eronko of Sport-Express tweeted some KHL notes this morning, reporting that Los Angeles Kings forward Nikita Scherbak could be heading to the KHL next season. The 23-year old forward is scheduled to become a restricted free agent this summer after his current deal expires, and could potentially bolt for Russia. Scherbak, originally a first-round pick of the Montreal Canadiens, was claimed on waivers this season by the Kings but failed to make much of an impact at the NHL level. The winger has just eight points in 37 NHL games across his career.
- Eronko also notes that Rushan Rafikov, a seventh-round pick of the Calgary Flames back in 2013, has signed a two-year extension with Lokomotiv. The 23-year old defenseman set a career high with 14 points in 48 games last season, and doesn’t appear interested in the NHL at this point. The Flames will maintain his exclusive draft rights indefinitely.