We’re inching closer to the opening of NHL training camps, and most teams have finalized their offseason work. That being said, there are still some players looking for a spot for next season, especially in minor leagues and in Europe. We’ll keep track of those moves here.
- As part of the Los Angeles Kings’ announcement of an ECHL affiliation agreement with the Greenville Swamp Rabbits, the Kings’ AHL affiliate, the Ontario Reign, announced the signings of five players to one-year, two-way (AHL/ECHL) deals for the 2022-23 season. Those players are as follows: defenseman Joe Gatenby and forwards Alex Ierullo, Brett Kemp, Justin Nachbaur, and Nikita Pavlychev. Gatenby, Ierullo, and Pavlychev are all 25-year-old players who (relatively) recently graduated college, while Kemp and Nachbaur are 22-year-old junior hockey prospects who both saw time with the Swamp Rabbits last season.
- Veteran minor league journeyman Colton Saucerman is returning to North America after a two-year stint playing in European Leagues. The ECHL’s Allen Americans announced a one-year deal with the defenseman, signing him after he had a solid campaign starting for HC Kosice in the Slovakian league. Saucerman has extensive experience in both the AHL and ECHL and that experience should be a help to the Americans’ back end.
- The ECHL’s Idaho Steelheads announced two signings today, inking forwards Jade Miller and Ty Pelton-Byce to one-year deals for the 2022-23 season. Miller, 27, had a four-year collegiate career at the University of Minnesota-Duluth before cutting his teeth as a professional with the South Carolina Stingrays in the ECHL. He scored 31 points in 72 games last season in South Carolina and should be a solid add for the Steelheads’ bottom-six. Some might know Pelton-Byce from his time at the University of Wisconsin when he scored 31 points in just 24 games in his senior season in large part thanks to sharing the ice with two NHL first-rounders in Cole Caufield and Dylan Holloway. Pelton-Byce spent time at both the ECHL and AHL levels last season and could get a top-six role in Idaho.
- In another ECHL signing, the Witchita Thunder announced the addition of defender Jake Hamilton for the 2022-23 season. Hamilton is a former SPHL-er who broke into the ECHL last season by playing 33 games for the Adirondack Thunder.
- Former New Jersey Devils prospect Nikita Popugayev has returned to hockey, says The Athletic’s Scott Wheeler (link). The forward, who walked away from the sport a year-and-a-half ago, is now in camp on a tryout with HK Sochi of the KHL. Still only 23 years of age, Popugayev last played during the 2020-21 season, tallying just six points in 25 KHL games. Popugayev last played in North America during the 2019-20 season, where he had 25 points in 47 games for the ECHL’s Adirondack Thunder.
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