The Philadelphia Flyers have had a near-annual influx of talented young defensemen join the team over the last few years, but they’ll have to wait a little bit longer for one of their next promising blue liners to make the jump. Adam Ginning, the Flyers’ 2018 second-round pick, has re-signed with his Swedish Hockey League club for another year. Linkoping HC announced today that Ginning had inked a one-year contract extension to stay with the organization that has groomed him since he was 13 years old. Now 19, Ginning just finished his first full season in the SHL and did not look out of place playing against older and more experienced competition. At 6’4″ and 205 lbs., Ginning plays a physical and technically sound defensive game and projects to be a shutdown defender in the NHL one day. Some more time in the SHL certainly won’t hurt his development, but Philadelphia is definitely hopeful that he will join the system sooner rather than later to begin working with their coaches and adjusting to the North American style of play.
- The Buffalo Sabres will get a closer look at one of their top prospects ahead of schedule, as goaltender Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen has joined the AHL’s Rochester Americans on an amateur tryout basis, the team announced. Luukkonen is likely to make his North American pro debut in the near future to cap off what has been a big season for the talented netminder. Luukkonen, a second-round pick of the Sabres in 2017, made the jump overseas this year to play for the OHL’s Sudbury Wolves and made an immediate impact. The 6’5″ keeper was a brick wall in net, leading the league in wins and shutouts and finishing in the top three in save percentage and goals against average. Luukkonen was arguably the best goalie in the OHL this year, but that wasn’t even the highlight of the campaign. Luukkonen also led Finland to a gold medal finish at the World Junior Championships earlier this year, posting a .932 save percentage and 1.80 GAA along the way. The Sabres hope that the next stop on Luukkonen’s path of dominance is the AHL and soon after the NHL.
- One name that won’t be playing in the pros, in North America or Europe, for at least another year is NCAA forward Westin Michaud. Michaud, 23, just wrapped up his senior season at Colorado College, in which he finished second on the team with 30 points in 41 games. Competing in the ultra-competitive National Collegiate Hockey Conference against several elite programs, Michaud still managed to take major steps forward in each of the past three seasons and at least one rival school took notice. With a year of NCAA eligibility remaining after sitting as a freshman, Michaud has decided to spurn pro offers for now and leave Colorado College behind him to transfer to the University of North Dakota for a graduate year with the national powerhouse. The experienced center will likely slot into a top-six position with North Dakota and could be in for yet another jump in production. Joining an already-strong roster that also has an impressive recruiting class incoming, Michaud makes the Fighting Hawks a dangerous contender next season.