Usually, when a player is put on unconditional waivers and their contract terminated, they end up signing overseas to continue their career far away from the NHL. In the case of Ivan Lodnia, something very different has happened. The young forward, who recently saw his deal with the Minnesota Wild terminated, has signed an AHL contract with the Chicago Wolves.
This is still a step up for the 22-year-old forward, as the Wild had assigned him to the ECHL to start the season. Lodnia refused to report to the Iowa Heartlanders, earning a suspension from the team instead. Now he’ll at least get the chance to play in the AHL, where he can showcase himself for another NHL organization.
Notably, the Wolves are an independent minor league team, meaning that though they are affiliated with the Carolina Hurricanes they can also make decisions like this for themselves. The team obviously sees the value in bringing in the 2017 third-round pick, though Lodnia has not shown much at that level to this point. In 2020-21, he was loaned to Dynamo Minsk of the KHL, where he had just one goal and seven points in 27 games. Prior to that, he had played six professional games, failing to record a point.
A solid two-way winger, early in his CHL career Lodnia was stuck behind a very talented Erie Otters forward group but still managed to put up strong production. Still, even once he was traded to Niagara and given more offensive minutes, his scoring never really exploded to a level that would draw a ton of notice from NHL fans. There’s plenty of time for him to figure out how to be a successful pro, given he turned 22 just a few months ago and he’ll now take on that challenge in Chicago.