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.
- Tim Schaller, a veteran of nearly 300 NHL games, has found a new AHL club for next season. Per a team announcement, the Milwaukee Admirals have signed Schaller to a one-year AHL contract. Schaller was, just a few years ago, a capable bottom-six center for the Boston Bruins. He scored 12 goals and 22 points in 82 games in 2017-18 and looked to have established himself in the NHL. But injury issues and underperformance relegated him to part-time duty with the Vancouver Canucks, and he’s spent the past two full seasons in the AHL. Last year with the Bakersfield Condors, Schaller posted 10 goals and 25 points in 67 games, playing in a similar defense-first bottom-six role to the one he played in the NHL. There is a leadership component to Schaller’s game, as he’s worn letters in both professional and collegiate hockey settings, and he should help an Admirals team looking to graduate its young talent and send them to Nashville.
- Former QMJHL star, captain of the Quebec Ramparts, and longtime DEL fixture Brent Aubin is headed to France. After a disappointing 17-point season with the Iserlohn Roosters of the DEL, Aubin has signed a contract with Grenoble of the French Ligue Magnus. Aubin is a capable forward who has a long resume of productive seasons in Europe. He should help Grenoble defend their Ligue Magnus title next season and chip in as they attempt to make a run in the Champions Hockey League.
- 2015 third-round pick Blake Speers is headed overseas. The 25-year-old center, who was traded to the Arizona Coyotes as part of the Taylor Hall trade, has signed a one-year deal with Vasteras IK of Swedish second-tier league HockeyAllsvenskan. Speers was an accomplished scorer for the OHL’s Soo Greyhounds, forming a deadly partnership with Boston Bruins 2015 first-rounder Zachary Senyshyn. But since he ended his OHL days, Speers has struggled to make much of an impact in the professional game. Speers has just 42 points in 203 NHL games and will look to help Vasteras achieve promotion to the SHL.
- Swedish winger Jakob Lilja, who played 37 games for the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2019-20, is changing KHL teams. The forward, who has spent the past two seasons with KHL side Nur-Sultan Barys, has signed a two-year, one-way contract with HC Dynamo Moscow. Lilja has been productive in his KHL career thus far, with 62 points in 106 games. He’ll join a Dynamo squad eager to return to the KHL playoffs after a run to the conference semifinals last season.
- KHL club Amur Khabarovsk announced the signings of two North American pro players today: Cam Lee and Andrew Calof. Lee, 25, was a star defenseman for Western Michigan University and became a regular with the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins after turning pro, playing as a bottom-pairing defenseman under coach J.D. Forrest. Calof, 31, was, like Lee, a star in the NCAA. Calof was a top scorer for Princeton University for four seasons, finishing his collegiate career with 123 points in 117 games. After graduating, Calof immediately signed a contract with SHL side Skelleftea AIK, and became an important contributor there. After a poor final season in Skelleftea and a bounce-back year for the Vaxjo Lakers, Calof left for the KHL, where he was similarly productive. He spent last season back with Vaxjo and now heads back to the KHL once again. Both Lee and Calof are capable professionals who should be able to help Amur recover from what was a difficult 2021-22 season that saw them languish near the bottom of the KHL standings.
- Former NHL-er Brian Gibbons, a veteran of over 200 NHL games, is changing leagues once again. The two-way forward signed with Swiss club HC Lausanne after leaving North America and spent last season SHL club HC Linkoping. Now, he’s heading to the DEL, signing with German club ERC Ingolstadt, per a team announcement. Gibbons has brought his reliable all-arond game to Europe, although while he was productive in Switzerland he struggled in the SHL. A move to the DEL should benefit him, and be a strong addition for Ingolstadt in their climb up the DEL.
- Forward Benjamin Baumgartner, a 2020 sixth-round pick of the New Jersey Devils, is switching teams. The forward, who spent 2021-22 with HC Lausanne, has signed a two-year contract with fellow Swiss club HC Bern. Baumgartner has 71 points in 149 career games in the Swiss National League and is part of a growing movement of young Austrian hockey talent that boasts recently-drafted prospects in Minnesota Wild first-rounder Marco Rossi and Montreal Canadiens third-rounder Vinzenz Rohrer.
- Matt Tugnutt, the son of longtime NHL goalie Ron Tugnutt, is headed for Europe. The 26-year-old spent last season in the ECHL, splitting time between the Greenville Swamp Rabbits and the Idaho Steelheads. The 26-year-old is a center and had 25 points in 53 ECHL games last season. He’s joining the Chamonix Pioneers of Ligue Magnus, with the goal of helping them secure their place in the top division of French hockey for another season.
- After a long NCAA career, Seamus Donohue has chosen to continue his pro career overseas. The defenseman got seven games with the ECHL’s South Carolina Stingrays last season, and now heads to Liiga club SaiPa. Donohue is a crease-clearing defenseman who lacks experience in professional hockey. He joins a SaiPa squad that has abundant opportunities to excel, seeking new faces to help them bounce back from a 2021-22 campaign that saw them finish second-to-last in Liiga. Per the team announcement, Donohue’s contract with SaiPa is a one-year deal with an option for 2023-24.
- The AHL’s Utica Comets announced today that they’ve signed rough-and-tumble forward Noah Corson to a one-year, two-way AHL/ECHL deal. Corson turned pro in the Southern Professional Hockey League and parlayed that strong production (16 points in 19 games) into a shot with the ECHL’s Norfolk Admirals. Corson’s ECHL debut was impressive, as he posted 24 goals and 55 points in 57 games to go along with 162 PIM’s. He got a brief call-up with the Chicago Wolves and heads to Utica hoping to make their AHL squad and continue his climb up the pro hockey ladder.
- The Minnesota Wild’s AHL affiliate, the Iowa Wild, announced the signing of defenseman Matt Murphy to a one-year, two-way AHL/ECHL deal. Murphy spent time with three teams last season, getting into 21 games with the ECHL’s Fort Wayne Komets and the AHL’s Abbotsford Canucks and Providence Bruins. Murphy had 14 points in 21 ECHL games and should serve as dependable depth for the Iowa Wild.
This page will be updated throughout the day.