How about rewarding a strong performance at the minor league level with a taste of the NHL? The Detroit Red Wings have done just that, signing Turner Elson to a one-year contract for the remainder of the 2021-22 season. According to PuckPedia, Elson is expected to play in the final two games of the season for the Red Wings and will carry a pro-rated NHL salary of $750K.
Elson, 29, will be an unrestricted free agent again at the end of the year, but gets a few days of increased pay and another chance to play in the NHL. The long-time minor league forward played one game for the Calgary Flames in 2015-16 and has been a pillar of the Grand Rapids Griffins lineup for the past five years. This season, in 73 games, he has 21 goals and 45 points, both career highs.
An ECHL Kelly Cup champion, the undrafted Elson may very well have to settle for another AHL contract next season, though he has put together quite the career in the minor leagues. Over parts of 11 seasons, he has played in 469 AHL contests, scoring 95 goals and 210 points. Notably, signing this contract means he is no longer eligible to play for the Griffins this season, but they will not be making the playoffs as they sit last in the Central Division with a winning percentage of just .486.