As the NHL off-season wears on without much activity, free agents are facing some difficult decisions as they look for employment for next season. Among other minor moves, Monday witnessed a number of payers leaving NHL contracts for minor league pacts and a stagnant market could mean that this is just the beginning.
- Defenseman Devante Stephens will return to Syracuse next season, but on an AHL contract with the crunch rather than a two-way NHL deal. The 23-year-old, a draft pick of the Buffalo Sabres, was traded to the Tampa Bay Lightning last season and for the first time in his pro career became a regular in the AHL lineup. However, this was not enough to convince the Bolts that he was worthy of a second look. At least the Crunch were willing to bring him back, announcing a one-year contract.
- For someone who was traded three times in a nine-month span last season, one would think that forward Aaron Luchuk would be in demand. However, the 23-year-old center will not be getting a new NHL deal with his entry-level contract expiring. In fact, Luchuk was unable to even find an AHL deal. The former Senators’, Maple Leafs’, and Canadiens’ prospect has signed a one-year deal with the ECHL’s Orlando Solar Bears, the team announced.
- University of New Brunswick product Alex Dubeau upgraded to an AHL contract last season and made three appearances with the Belleville Senators. However, he still played the majority of his games in the ECHL and will return to league next season. Dubeau has signed a one-year deal with the South Carolina Stingrays, the team announced.
- Cam Knuble, son of former NHLer Mike Knuble, will follow in his father’s footsteps to the NCAA, though not to the same school. While Mike attended the University of Michign prior to his 16-year NHL career, Cam is headed to Western Michigan University, effective immediately according to the program. Knuble had previously been commited to nearby Michigan State University, but recently decided not only to change his commitment but to move up his timeline. The undrafted forward hopes that the move puts him on the fright track for a pro future.