Once the hockey season kicks into full gear, few transactions outside of NHL trades, claims, recalls, and reassignments garner much attention from the masses. Yet, some notable moves in other league do continue throughout the year. A handful have taken place today in fact:
- The rare AHL trade has not been as uncommon so far this season, as the third trade of the season has been completed. As the narrative of the Senators’ poor organizational depth on the blue line continues to be an issue for both Ottawa and Belleville, the farm team brought in some help today. The AHL Senators announced that they have acquired defenseman Jack Dougherty from the Providence Bruins in exchange for future considerations. Dougherty is a name familiar to fans in Belleville, having played for the team the past two seasons. He only played one game with Providence this season, so his usage could have just as much to do with the deal to send him back to Belleville as does the Senators’ own needs. Dougherty, 25, was a second round pick of the Nashville Predators back in 2014 and a standout for both the U.S. National Team Development Program and in the WHL for the Portland Winterhawks. While he never panned out, with no NHL experience to speak of, Dougherty has settled nicely into a role as a useful, two-way defenseman in the AHL.
- Sometimes very capable pros slip through the cracks in the off-season and are forced to settle for ECHL contracts and the hopes of proving on AHL injury loans that they can still play at a high level. Such is the case for goaltender Jon Gillies and forward Nick Lappin, who have both joined the AHL’s Lehigh Valley Phantoms on PTO’s today, on loan from their respective ECHL clubs. Gillies, 27, was on a PTO this fall with the New York Islanders that did not result in a contract. His time with the Maine Mariners has actually been spent mostly with their AHL parent club, the Providence Bruins, where he posted stellar numbers in three games, but again without a new contract in the end. The accomplished collegiate goalie and experienced pro is hoping Lehigh Valley finally takes notice of his ability and rewards him with an AHL deal. Lappin is hoping for the same result from his time with the Phantoms. The 29-year-old forward is not the same player he was as a regular call-up of the New Jersey Devils for several years, but also hasn’t had the chance to play a complete season in the past two years. Lappin will try to take advantage of this AHL opportunity to show he still plays with the same physicality and grit and that his scoring touch is not lost.
- In a quirk of the transfer process in Switzerland’s National League, former NHLer Chris DiDomenico has already signed a new contract… with a different team… for next year. The 32-year-old journeyman has signed a two-year deal with SC Bern, but first will complete the current season with HC Fribourg-Gotteron in a strange arrangement. DiDomenico actually made his name initially in Switzerland (and Italy) from 2012 to 2017 before signing with the Ottawa Senators. When he left North America after two seasons with the Sens, he returned immediately to Switzerland and started producing at an elite level once again. As dangerous as he looks this season with Fribourg, tallying 26 points in his first 24 games, he could be even better next year in Bern with fellow former NHLers Cory Conacher, Kaspars Daugavins, and Dominik Kahun.