While hockey fans are still engrossed in the excitement of the conference finals, one game per day does feel like somewhat of a letdown after the onslaught of game action over the past six weeks. Combine that with the growing anticipation of free agency and the NHL Draft and the 2020-21 season overall, and day-to-day roster transactions are starting to worm their way back into the spotlight. With plenty going on at all levels and in many different countries, here are some of the top minor moves of the day:
- The AHL’s Laval Rocket have announced an extension with veteran minor league forward Kevin Lynch. It is a one-year, one-way AHL contract for Lynch, who brings physicality and scoring punch to the Rocket lineup. A University of Michigan product who cut his teeth in the ECHL and eventually worked his way into a leadership position with the AHL’s Syracuse Crunch and to an NHL contract with the Tampa Bay Lighting in 2018-19, Lynch sadly missed that entire season due to injury. He moved to Laval this past year and recorded 21 points in 54 games, finding himself a new home in the process.
- The AHL’s Rochester Americans have announced a new contract of their own, signing goaltender Michael Houser to a one-year AHL contract. Though the press release does not specify, this is expected to be a two-way contract, as Houser has played the vast majority of his career in the ECHL, including the entirety of the past two seasons while technically under contract with Rochester. With that said, Houser was phenomenal with the ECHL’s Cincinnati Cyclones over the past two years and has earned his spot on the Americans’ depth chart. The former Florida Panthers prospect has a career 2.47 GAA and .915 save percentage in 210 ECHL games and has played well in 73 AHL appearances over the years as well.
- Former NHLer Casey Bailey is off to a new location yet again this season. Once a promising prospect for the Toronto Maple Leafs out of Penn State University, Bailey has been all over the place looking for a fit for the past few years. Bailey last played in the NHL in 2016-17 with the Ottawa Senators, but could not find an NHL contract after the season. He signed with the AHL’s Bridgeport Sound Tigers and had a strong year, prompting him to chase a paycheck in the KHL with HC Slovan Bratislava the next season. However, his offense dried up in the KHL and Bailey made the surprise move to return to North America last year on an ECHL contract. That skepticism proved to be warranted, as Bailey bolted early in the season for Sweden, signing with the SHL’s Vaxjo Lakers. Now he’s off to a new European league, inking a one-year deal with the Iserlohn Roosters of Germany’s DEL.