After Yannick Rathgeb cleared waivers and had his contract terminated by the New York Islanders last week, it was only a matter of time before he we was back in Europe. Unsurprisingly, Rathgeb has opted to return home to his native Switzerland, signing in the NLA. EHC Biel-Bienne has announced a three-year contract with the 23-year-old defenseman, who they hope can get back to his dominant ways. Prior to joining the Islanders last season, Rathgeb had spent the three years prior with the NLA’s HC Fribourg-Gotteron, where he amassed 89 points over 133 games. While he was unable to perform at that same level in North America – nine points in 32 games with the AHL’s Bridgeport Sound Tigers – there’s no reason to think Rathgeb won’t again be a dynamic defender in the NLA. The smooth-skating blue liner joins a Biel-Bienne team that is a perennial contender and includes former NHLers like Jonas Hiller, Damien Brunner, and Anssi Salmela.
- Tommy Novak would undoubtedly rather be under contract with the Nashville Predators, but he’s content to sign a prove-it deal with the AHL’s Milwaukee Admirals instead. The Admirals announced today that the University of Minnesota product had signed a one-year contract to remain with the team after wrapping up his season in Milwaukee on a tryout deal. Novak was a third-round pick of the Predators back in 2015 and spent the last four seasons as a starter for the Gophers. However, while Novak has flashed the skill and smarts to excel at the pro level, he was inconsistent in college and needs time to round out his game in the minors. Committing to the Predators’ affiliate is a good way to stay under the umbrella of the organization and work toward a potential entry-level contract down the road.
- The University of Massachusetts – Lowell landed a nice commitment today in Slovakian standout Marek Korencik. Hockey Portal reports that Korencik will make the jump from the Sweden to the NCAA next season, joining the River Hawks. The 19-year-old defenseman had a breakout season, recording 20 points for Lulea HF in the junior-level SuperElit while also contributing three points in five games for Team Slovakia at the World Juniors. His efforts even earned Korencik an appearance with Lulea’s SHL team and he likely would have seen more action at the top pro level next year had he stayed in Sweden. However, the move to the college game is likely a better developmental move for the 6’3″, 200-lb. rearguard and the commitment to North American hockey could endear him to scouts in his final go-round in the NHL Draft. Even if Korencik is again passed over, he still represents a great addition for Lowell, who will look to get back to the NCAA Tournament next season behind some improved defensive play.