As NHL teams deal with arbitration cases and potentially court one of the remaining NHL-caliber free agents on the open market, there is still quite a bit of player movement activity in minor and foreign professional leagues. As always, we’ll keep track of those moves here:
- Lukáš Klok, a UFA signing from last summer by the Arizona Coyotes who ended up playing just four games in the Desert, signed a two-year contract with the KHL’s Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk. Klok is a 28-year-old Czech blueliner who has significant experience in several European pro leagues. This deal returns Klok to where he played in 2021-22, and Klok’s KHL stint was arguably the most successful of his career on an individual basis. Seeing as he scored 31 points in 44 games and earned an NHL contract the last time he played for Nizhnekamsk, it’s easy to see why he’d want to re-unite with the club after a difficult 2022-23 that saw him bounce from Arizona to Sweden before finishing the year in Switzerland.
- Former New York Rangers prospect Dávid Skokan is moving on from his club of the last three seasons, Slovakia’s HK Poprad. The 34-year-old has been a star in the Slovak league in recent seasons, although he’s seen his numbers decline more recently. Over his first two campaigns in Poprad Skokan scored 83 points in 78 games, but this past season he only managed 18 points in 36 games. Having lost his spot as Poprad’s leading scorer, Skokan will look for his next opportunity in pro hockey.
- Former Vancouver Canucks prospect Andrew Sarauer is hanging up his skates, according to an announcement from his club Fehérvár AV19. Sarauer, 38, had been with Hungary’s ICEHL club since 2013, save for one season spent in Austria. He once served as Fehérvár’s captain and has totaled over 350 points in over 450 games playing pro hockey in Central Europe. Sarauer has also represented Hungary at international events, including the 2016 IIHF Men’s World Championships. He last played in North America in 2012-13, and he was a prolific scorer in the ECHL with 238 points in 250 career games there.
- Jonas Emmerdahl, the captain of the EIHL’s Fife Flyers, has signed a contract extension to remain with the club. The 31-year-old Swedish blueliner has logged 151 games across three seasons in Scotland and has posted 42 points. Before heading to the United Kingdom, Emmerdahl was a steady presence in HockeyAllsvenskan, the second tier of hockey in his home country. Fife have been one of the EIHL’s worst-performing teams during Emmerdahl’s tenure there, but the hope will be that he can help lead a turnaround next year playing on this contract extension.
- One of the players Fife is likely hoping will lead that turnaround is Aleksi Mäkelä, a player the team signed today. Although Mäkelä spent last season playing in Italy in the AlpsHL, he does have an impressive resume including over 250 games in the Finnish Liiga and a Liiga championship from his 2017-18 season with Kärpät. He’ll join Emmerdahl on the left side of Fife’s blueline and will provide the type of experience in a high-end European league that can be very valuable.
- After four consecutive campaigns in the HockeyAllsvenskan, including a run to the league quarterfinals last season, Kristianstads IK now find themselves back in Sweden’s third-tier HockeyEttan. Today, the club announced on social media that they have secured the services of their captain, Dennis Svensson, for another season as they look to bounce back from this setback. The 30-year-old center returned to Kristianstads upon their promotion to the second tier, having just finished the prior season in the SHL with Djurgården. He had played for Kristianstads before both in HockeyEttan and at the youth level. He scored 12 points in 25 games last season and will likely play a crucial role in the team’s upcoming campaign.
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