The return of hockey will soon seem like much more of a reality. The Athletic’s Michael Russo reports that NHL playoff teams can anticipate having their full rosters in town possibly by the end of the week. Russo writes that the European players for the Minnesota Wild are all expected to be back by Friday in order to meet the league’s mandated two-week quarantine period before Phase 3 training camps open on July 10. He adds that most European players are expected to do the same. While commercial flights from some European countries continue to be a struggle, players are also going the group charter route in order to get back to North America.
Among those making the trek from Europe is New York Rangers prospect Vitali Kravtsov, the team announced. The 20-year-old Kravtsov, a first-round pick in 2018, made the jump to North America for the first time to begin this season but was limited to the AHL and eventually returned to the KHL mid-season. In the team’s release, President John Davidson discusses Kravtsov’s early struggles and disappointment with not being used by the Rangers at the top level, but also raves about his ability and notes that the team could use talented depth for an uphill playoff run. The big, skilled Kravtsov will be given a chance to crack the postseason roster in training camp and just maybe will get the chance to play in the NHL that he had been seeking earlier this year.
- Over in the KHL, COVID-19 continues to complicate plans for 2020-21. League president Alexei Morozov announced that Admiral Vladivostok will not compete next season due to budget restraints and the possibility of limited income due to restricted attendance. Admiral struggled through a grim 2019-20 campaign that ended when they missed the playoffs for the third straight year. They may find it even harder to put together a winning team if and when they return to action after all of their players depart this off-season. Meanwhile, the other 23 teams have submitted their financial records to the league for approval and plan to play next season. However, Kunlun Red Star, the KHL’s lone Chinese team, may need to look elsewhere to open up the season. The Beijing-based club faces strict travel and public event restrictions as of right now that would prove problematic if still in place when the season begins this fall. One of the proposed locations for the team to host home games early on? None other than Vladivostok.
- There was some rare transaction movement in the AHL today, as the Manitoba Moose extended a pair of players. The Winnipeg Jets’ affiliate has re-signed forwards Brent Pederson and Cole Maier to one-year contracts for next season. Maier recorded 15 points in 59 games with the Moose, while Pederson – a former Carolina Hurricanes prospect – recorded nine points in 36 AHL games and spent some time in the ECHL as well. The San Jose Barracuda also made a move, as Steenn Pasichnuk follows his brother from Arizona State to the organization. The Sharks signed standout defenseman and Sun Devils captain Brinson Pasichnuk earlier this spring and have sweetened the pot by bringing his older brother along, a checking forward who will fight for bottom-six minutes with the Barracuda.