After a loaded Saturday slate, there are just three NHL games on the docket today. However, off-day teams could still use the time to make roster transactions to prepare for the coming week. Meanwhile, minor league and European teams alike continue to tinker with their rosters early in the year. Keep up with all of the action today right here:
- The KHL’s Metallurg Magnitogorsk made a swap of NHL veterans today, announcing the signing of forward Andrej Nestrasil and the release of defenseman Paul Postma. Nestrasil, 28, has had a strange start to the new campaign. The former Carolina Hurricanes forward was somewhat surprisingly not offered a contract extension by the KHL’s Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk this off-season despite two good seasons with the team since leaving the NHL. Without any options, Nestrasil returned home to the Czech Republic and signed with HC Ocelari Trinec just two weeks ago. After only two games with club – and a team-leading four points in those two games – Magnitogorsk came calling with an offer to return to the KHL for at least one more year and Nestrasil took it. His roster spot came at the cost of Postma’s in a way, whose contract was jointly terminated. Postma last played in the NHL with the Boston Bruins in 2017-18 and enjoyed a strong first KHL season with Ak Bars Kazan last year. He signed with Metallurg this summer, but lasted just ten games into his new one-year contract before the two sides apparently agreed to part. While there has been nothing yet to link the two sides, Postma spent much of his NHL career with the Winnipeg Jets, who are sorely in need of some defensive depth right now and could potentially look into a reunion.
- Another former Bruins defenseman, Chris Casto, is headed overseas. After spending last season on an AHL contract with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, Casto has opted to head to Germany. Grizzlys Wolfsburg of the DEL has announced a one-year deal with the 27-year-old former college standout. Ironically, what prompted the move was a season-ending injury to another past Boston defensive prospect, Ryan Button. Like Button, Casto could never take his well-rounded game to that next level in North America, but could be an impact player in Europe.
- Ben Thomson has found a new home in the AHL. The 26-year-old enforcer has signed a one-year deal with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, the team announced. Thomson spent last season on the opposite coast with the San Diego Gulls, but will now head back to tri-state area, where he once suited up for three games with the New Jersey Devils. A fourth-round pick of New Jersey in 2012, Thomson made a name for himself with the AHL Devils as an aggressive checking forward a consistent penalty minutes leader. That role has continued to find him employment at the minor league level, but Thomson is unlikely to get back to the NHL any time soon.
- The jury is still out on who the goalie of the future may be for the Boston Bruins, if any of their current prospects. Dan Vladar has the most history with the organization, while Jeremy Swayman may have the most intrigue as he continues his development at the University of Maine. However, the most likely candidate may be 20-year-old Kyle Keyser, an undrafted signee who finished his junior career off on a high note with a strong OHL season and a World Juniors showing with Team USA. Yet, the Florida native will at least start his first pro season closer to home with the ECHL’s Atlanta Gladiators. Mark Divver reports that Vladar and free agent third-string Maxime Lagace will begin their seasons with AHL Providence, while the Bruins have reassigned Keyser to Atlanta. It’s not uncommon for young goaltenders, even talented ones, to spend some time in the ECHL for the purpose of consistent starts, but Keyser will certainly be looking to prove he is worth of a look in the AHL right away this season.
- The Ottawa Senators are certainly not lacking in prospect depth and the team seems likely to switch their talented young names in and out of the NHL and AHL lineups early on to ensure equal ice time until they can get a better feel for who belongs in Ottawa full-time. Today, the team has reassigned Drake Batherson and Filip Chlapik to AHL Belleville. They did not announce a corresponding move, meaning the same duo or two other prospects could be called up in the coming days.
- With Evgeny Kuznetsov returning from suspension, the Washington Capitals had some salary cap maneuvering to do. The team has announced that forward Travis Boyd has been placed on waivers for the purpose of reassignment to the AHL’s Hershey Bears. They also announced that rookie defenseman Martin Fehervary has been sent down to Hershey. The 2018 second-round pick performed well in the team’s first three games, but some more seasoning in the minors won’t hurt. As for Boyd, the 26-year-old center is probably safe on the waiver wire, but is more of a risk than last season after recording 20 points in 53 games last season. The team has also “demoted” defenseman Jonas Siegenthaler, but it is a paper move expected to be made frequently this season by the Capitals as they look to bank as much cap space as possible while fighting a very tight cap crunch.