It has been a tough season for Hurricanes defenseman Joakim Ryan. He cleared waivers in training camp and has spent the majority of the season on the taxi squad. As a result, he has suited up just seven times this season, three with Carolina and four with AHL Chicago. Not surprisingly, the pending unrestricted free agent is expected to head elsewhere for next season.
In this case, it appears that elsewhere may very well be in Sweden as SportExpressen’s Johan Svensson reports that Malmo of the SHL is in final negotiations to sign Ryan for next season although the deal wouldn’t officially be announced until Carolina’s playoffs come to an end. Svensson qualifies his report by noting that a one-way NHL deal may be enough to sway Ryan to stay in North America although given how little he has played this season and the fact he already is on a two-way pact, that doesn’t seem likely to happen.
If this comes to fruition, it would be a homecoming of sorts for the 28-year-old who grew up just outside of Malmo until he was 12 when his family headed for the United States. Several years ago, he indicated that he had a desire to play for Malmo although San Jose was able to get him to stay at that time before joining Los Angeles on a one-way deal back in 2019.
Between his time with those three organizations, Ryan has played in 144 career NHL games over four seasons but aside from his first year with the Sharks, he never has truly been able to establish himself as a regular player. Accordingly, heading overseas would certainly make a lot of sense for him, especially if he can wind up close to home.