The NHL offseason has come to a standstill, with no unrestricted free agents signed to one-way contracts in a month. Still, the ECHL and many European leagues continue to play or prepare, meaning hockey players signing deals all over the world. We’ll keep track of the notable minor transactions right here.
- The KHL was especially busy today, with several former NHL players on the move. Trevor Murphy, a 25-year-old defenseman who played eight games for the Arizona Coyotes in 2017-18 was sent from Kunlun Red Star to Ak Bars Kazan. Murphy was never drafted, but after dominating the OHL with the Windsor Spitfires ended up in the Nashville Predators system. The offensive-minded defenseman never stopped producing, scoring 131 points in 257 AHL games, but ended up overseas last year.
- Zack Mitchell, who had been playing with Dinamo Riga in the KHL, will now suit up for Severstal Cherepovets. The 27-year-old is another undrafted player who once made it to the NHL, playing 34 games with the Minnesota Wild. Mitchell scored 31 points in 61 games for the Ontario Reign in 2018-19 before heading to the KHL.
- It’s been years since he was in North America, but Sean Collins will continue his KHL career with Kunlun this season. The 31-year-old forward will be spending his fifth year in the foreign league after a successful AHL career ended in 2016. Collins played in 21 NHL games over the years, but never did score a single goal.
- Another former NHLer who has been playing overseas for several years, Brandon DeFazio is making a mid-season move. The 32-year old, who has spent two of the past three years with the KHL’s Kunlun Red Star with a stop with the Liiga’s Lukko in between, began this season with HC Kometa Brno of the Czech Extraliga. However, Brno has announced today that DeFazio’s contract has been terminated via exit clause, as DeFazio has found a higher paying offer with an unnamed club in Germany’s DEL. This will be the fourth different country that DeFazio has played in since leaving North America in 2017.
- Although the team never made a formal announcement, today’s ECHL transactions have indicated that the AHL’s Stockton Heat have signed (and reassigned) goaltender Andrew Shortridge. Shortridge, 25, is a former NCAA standout at Quinnipiac who signed a one-year entry-level contract with the San Jose Sharks for last season. However, the Sharks declined to an extend him a qualifying offer in October, making him a UFA. Shortridge struggled in the AHL last season, admittedly in his first pro campaign, but played well in the ECHL and has the size and collegiate production that would imply that he has more to offer.