NHL teams may be busy with training camps now in full swing – and camp cuts already underway – but those players without a contract or even a camp invite have to look elsewhere. The result is a slew of AHL signings, which could continue up until AHL camps also get ready to begin. Follow along with those moves and other transactions right here:
- The Hartford Wolfpack have announced one-year extensions with forwards James Sanchez and Alex Whalen as well as for defenseman Jeff Taylor. Sanchez and Whalen are both recent college products, with Whalen playing all of last season with Hartford after leaving nearby Quinnipiac University and Sanchez joining the team after his senior season at Arizona State University. Sanchez, who struggled at the University of Michigan in his first two NCAA seasons, put up strong numbers after transferring to ASU and looked good in eight games with the Wolfpack late last season. He could be a player worth watching for Rangers fans interested in a dark horse prospect. Taylor, 27, has bounced between the AHL and ECHL for the past four seasons, including the past two under contract with Hartford.
- Not returning to the Wolfpack this season is Gabriel Fontaine. Fontaine, a 2016 draft selection, has spent the past four seasons under contract with the New York Rangers. However, he became an unrestricted free agent this summer when the team declined to extend him a qualifying offer. Rather than stick with the franchise and sign an AHL deal with Hartford, Fontaine has instead signed a one-year deal with the Colorado Eagles, the team announced. Fontaine is also attending Colorado Avalanche training camp on a PTO. The 24-year-old center has yet to find his footing in the pros, but could benefit from this change of scenery.
- Another player not expected back in Hartford is defenseman Brandon Crawley. A fellow non-qualified Rangers prospect, even after spending some time on New York’s taxi squad last year, Crawley has been seeking another NHL deal this summer. Instead, he has settled for an AHL deal. His agency, WD Sports & Entertainment, has announced that Crawley has come to terms on a contract with the Syracuse Crunch. The team has not yet confirmed the deal.
- Things are not going as planned of late for Jaromir Pytlik. The big Czech forward was considered a consensus second- or third-round pick in the 2021 NHL Draft, but ended up falling to the New Jersey Devils in the fourth round. Setting out to prove wrong those teams that passed on him, Pytlik made the jump from the second-tier league in the Czech Republic to the Liiga, the top-tier league in Finland. He signed a two-year deal with KalPa with the expectations of owning a regular role. Yet, after just two games, KalPa has reassigned Pytlik to IPK of the second-tier Metsis, the team announced. It’s another hurdle for a well-rounded prospect who needs to establish his pro ability.