It’s been a long, slow grind since the craziness of free agency opening on July 13, with a good number of high-end free agents remaining unsigned. With many other leagues than just the NHL looking to get their rosters set for next season, though, that hasn’t been the case everywhere. Minor-league teams and overseas leagues are making moves and transactions to their squads every day, giving hockey fans something else to look at. We’ll keep track of today’s transactions right here.
- Goaltender Gage Alexander, a 2021 fifth-round pick of the Anaheim Ducks, was traded by his WHL team today. His Winnipeg Ice shipped him to the Swift Current Broncos, in exchange for a 2025 third-round pick. Alexander, 20, is a promising six-foot-six netminder who hasn’t had the chance to get the a starter’s workload in Winnipeg. This is actually relevant news for the Ducks, as the conventional wisdom surrounding goalie development is that they need to get as many games played as possible. Alexander wasn’t in a position to play as a starter with the Ice, but he’s now in prime position to be his team’s number-one in Swift Current. With the Broncos’ starting goalie from last season, Isaac Poulter, departed for the pro ranks, Alexander will compete with Boston Bruins 2022 draft pick Reid Dyck for the starting role in Swift Current.
- The Toronto Maple Leafs’ AHL affiliate, the Toronto Marlies, announced the signings of four players today, each receiving one-year AHL contracts. The players are Jack Badini, Brett Budgell, Zach O’Brien, and Zach Solow. Solow and O’Brien are each accomplished ECHL forwards, both scoring at high levels in the third-tier league with limited success at the AHL level. Badini is a 2014 third-round pick of the Anaheim Ducks who got into 46 games with their AHL affiliate last season but played in an extremely limited role. The most interesting player in the quartet is Budgell, a 21-year-old forward who has served as the captain of the QMJHL’s Charlottetown Islanders for the past two seasons. A decent scorer in each of his junior campaigns, Budgell really hit his stride in his final two years, as many CHL players do. He had 40 goals and 79 points in his final junior season, leading the Islanders on a run to the QMJHL finals. He will hope to make the Marlies this fall and translate his junior scoring to the professional game.
- Veteran SHL forward Joel Mustonen is heading down a division. Today Swedish club IF Bjorkloven, a side that plays in the second-tier Allsvenskan, announced that they’d signed Mustonen to a two-year deal. Mustonen has been a regular face in the SHL for the past five seasons, seeing regular minutes for Frolunda and Orebro. He had a difficult 2021-22, with just nine points in 42 games, which likely led to his signing in the Allsvenskan. Mustonen will head to Bjorkloven to help the team get over the hump and secure promotion to the SHL after a finals loss to HV71.
- After a point-per-game campaign in the ECHL that saw him earn a call-up to the AHL, undrafted forward Mitch Hults chose to head overseas, signing a contract with the Bratislava Capitals of the IceHL. A near point-per-game year in the IceHL earned Hults a chance to play in one of Europe’s top leagues, the Finnish Liiga, landing him a contract with TPS Turku. Hults’ Liiga debut was uneven, though, and despite solid power-play time he was unable to find success within the more conservative structures of Liiga, scoring just 21 points in 51 games. Now, he’s headed back to his old stomping grounds, the IceHL. Today Italian club HC Bolzano announced that they’d signed Hults to a one-year contract. Bolzano just missed out on the playoffs in 2021-22 and their addition of Hults will likely give their offensive attack a serious jolt.
- Former Vancouver Canuck Philip Holm is headed back to the SHL. Fresh off a two-year stint in the KHL for Jokerit and Metallurg Magnitogorsk, Holm has signed a three-year deal with Orebro HK of the SHL. Holm is an accomplished defenseman, with an NHL game on his resume and a selection to Sweden’s squad for the Beijing Winter Olympics. He should help Orebro return to the playoffs for next season and reinforce a defense that ranked third-best in the SHL in goals-against last season.
This page will be updated throughout the day.