If you’ve been watching the IIHF World Championship closely, you may have noticed a young winger lighting the lamp for the Czech Republic whose name has never been uttered in an NHL game. 23-year old Dominik Kubalik has nine points in six games for the Czechs, and is tied for the team lead in shots with 19. The young forward’s NHL rights were traded in January to the Chicago Blackhawks, who according to Igor Eronko of Sport-Express have now agreed to terms with Kubalik.
Kubalik played with Blackhawks forward Dominik Kahun in the OHL several years ago, but returned home after two seasons in junior. Selected in the seventh round by the Los Angeles Kings, the talented winger put up 57 points in 50 games in the Swiss NLA last season and could be a potential NHL option as soon as 2019-20 for the Blackhawks. The will of course need to get him under contract, but perhaps they are close to doing just that after his excellent tournament.
- The Stockton Heat have signed Mason Morelli to an AHL contract for 2019-20, getting another impressive young player to agree to a minor league deal. Morelli recorded 34 points in 36 games as a senior with the University of Nebraska-Omaha, and then jumped right into the AHL with three goals and four points in nine games down the stretch. The 23-year old was undrafted but will try to take the next step in his development for the Heat and earn himself an NHL contract down the road.
- The Nashville Predators are dealing with a disappointing exit from the playoffs this season and know they have work to do in order to get themselves back to legitimate Stanley Cup contenders. GM David Poile spoke with Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic (subscription required) about his priorities this offseason, and secondary scoring came up as a big need. Outside of the top line of Ryan Johansen, Filip Forsberg and Viktor Arvidsson, the Predators didn’t have a single forward crack the 40-point threshold this season while deadline additions like Wayne Simmonds (3 points in 17 games) and Mikael Granlund (5 points in 16 games) never seemed to find their footing. Kyle Turris, who was extended immediately upon his arrival in Nashville during the 2017-18 season, also experienced one of his worst seasons as a professional, recording just 23 points in 55 games. Nashville will be a team to watch in the free agent and trade market over the next few months as they try to find an answer to those secondary scoring woes.