It’s a busy day around the world of sports, hockey included. Not only are sports fans everywhere likely captivated by the free agency of baseball superstar Shohei Ohtani, a process that is being diligently covered by our friends at MLB Trade Rumors, but there is also player movement activity across the many leagues of pro hockey to pay attention to. Trade rumors are flying around a few quality NHL defensemen, and the waiver wire is active as well. As always, we’ll keep track of notable player movement from minor and overseas leagues here.
- Former Philadelphia Flyer Jackson Cates, the brother of Flyers center Noah Cates, has been released from his tryout agreement with the AHL’s Bridgeport Islanders. The 26-year-old University of Minnesota-Duluth product signed with the Flyers as a college free agent and ended up playing in 20 total games for the club across three seasons. He spent more time in the AHL with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, including a 65-game slate with the team last year in which he managed 23 points. The Flyers elected not to re-sign Cates for 2023-24, resulting in him latching on with the Islanders on tryout agreements. After 12 games in Bridgeport Cates has only managed one point, though, and that point came all the way back on October 14th. Now he’ll likely have to look for opportunities elsewhere to continue his professional career.
- Former Moncton Wildcats captain Nicholas Welsh has transferred from Liiga’s JYP Jyväskylä to the Augsburg Panthers of the German DEL. The 26-year-old offensive defenseman is no stranger to the DEL. He played for the Nürnberg Ice Tigers from 2021 to 2023 before electing to sign in Liiga over the summer. His 22-game run with JYP did not go well, as he managed just three points in that span and saw his ice time decline sharply from the start of the year. He’s likely to find more success with Augsburg, who are in need of defensive reinforcements after an injury to veteran David Warsofsky. Welsh last played in North America in 2020-21, when he got into 17 games with the AHL’s Rochester Americans.
- 28-year-old Adam Brodecki, a veteran of over 300 SHL games, has signed a short-term contract with the SHL’s Frölunda HC. Brodecki spent last season with Rytíři Kladno in the Czech Extraliga, scoring 20 points in 45 games, but lingered on the free agent market before signing a short-term deal with the Växjö Lakers, helping them as injury issues struck their forward corps. Now, Brodecki will get the chance to represent Frölunda as they are set to lose a few players to Sweden’s World Juniors squad.
- Former WHL star Jaedon Descheneau has signed a one-year deal with the DEL’s Berlin Polar Bears, according to a team announcement. The five-foot-eight former St. Louis Blues prospect heads to Germany for a second tour of duty there, as he also spent 2018-19 as a top offensive player for Düsseldorfer EG. Although began his pro career in North America, Descheneau left the AHL/ECHL circuit after just one season. He bounced from California to Switzerland, then to Germany, then Sweden, then to Finland, and now is headed back to Germany. Along the way Descheneau has generally been a productive offensive player, although he has struggled with injuries and inconsistency over the last two years. With Berlin currently sat at the top of the DEL table, they add a talented scorer in Descheneau.
- Former WHL champion Reece Harsch, a six-foot-four right-shot defenseman, has elected to leave the EIHL’s Fife Flyers in the midst of a second campaign there. The former Seattle Thunderbirds blueliner began his pro career in 2021-22, skating in five AHL games for the Abbotsford Canucks and seven ECHL games for the Toledo Walleye. The then-23-year-old would that summer depart for Scotland, where he would play in 50 games for the Flyers. Now, after 10 games this year with Fife, Harsch has decided to leave the club and potentially look elsewhere to continue his young professional career.
- 2022 Seattle Kraken fourth-round pick Tyson Jugnauth has decided to leave the University of Wisconsin Badgers, the number-six team in men’s college hockey, in order to join the WHL’s Portland Winterhawks. The Winterhawks acquired Jugnauth’s WHL playing rights via trade earlier this week, trading four draft picks to be able to add the player. Jugnauth had seen his role decline as a sophomore after his 15-point freshman campaign, and for the team’s last game, he was listed as a seventh-defenseman. As an offensive player who prioritizes speed and puck-carrying ability, Jugnauth’s development would be best served by having stability in terms of role and who his defensive partner is. That’s not something he was finding at Wisconsin, so he’s elected to join the Winterhawks rather than remain with the Badgers.