As today is American Thanksgiving and 14 NHL games were played last night, the schedule for high-level hockey in North America is relatively light today.
Although it’s just OHL and QMJHL teams that will play today on this side of the Atlantic, over in Europe things are, as one would expect, quite a bit more active. The entirety of Sweden’s SHL will play today, as will eight teams in Finland’s Liiga and two apiece in the German DEL and Swiss NL. With an eye on today’s games, we’ll keep track of notable player movement throughout the hockey world here.
- The most active team in pro hockey yesterday may have been the ECHL’s Cincinnati Cyclones, who sit sixth in the ECHL’s Western Conference with a 7-5 record. On November 22nd, the club made two trades and two free agent additions. The first trade was technically made by AHL teams, with the Cyclones-affiliated Hartford Wolf Pack acquiring forward Tim Doherty from the Chicago Wolves, and then loaning Doherty to Cincinnati. Doherty is a 28-year-old scorer who played college hockey at the University of Maine and has broken out as a star ECHLer with the Maine Mariners. He scored 21 goals and 73 points in just 69 games last season, and has eight points through ten games this campaign. He’ll instantly be expected to be a difference-making offensive forward for the Cyclones.
- The Cyclones didn’t end their offensive additions with Doherty, though, as they also signed winger Lincoln Griffin to a contract. The versatile forward was claimed off of waivers by Cincinnati from the Greenville Swamp Rabbits in 2021, and that decision instantly paid dividends for the club. Griffin scored 21 goals and 46 points in his first 57 games with the club, and then scored 17 goals and 37 points in 2022-23, en route to the ECHL All-Star game. He signed with Slovakia’s HK Nitra for 2023-24, but with just two points in 12 games, Griffin has elected to forgo the rest of the season in Nitra to return to his old stomping grounds in the Queen City.
- To make room for these forward acquisitions, the Cyclones dealt forward Adam Berg in a trade with the Utah Grizzlies. Berg, 26, is in his second ECHL season after getting into 19 games near the end of 2022-23 with the Cyclones. Berg was signed to Cincinnati after a strong final season playing Canadian university hockey at Brock University, a year where he scored 15 goals and 29 points in 24 games. Berg has just two points in eight games so far this season for Cincinnati, so perhaps this change-of-scenery trade to Utah will help Berg better establish himself in the ECHL. Berg is the second forward the Grizzlies, who have the third-fewest goals scored in the ECHL, have added this week. They also signed former SPHL scorer Aaron Aragon as well.
- The final addition by the Cyclones from yesterday was on the defensive side of the equation. The team signed blueliner Josh Burnside, returning a fixture from the Cyclones’ 2022-23 squad back to Cincinnati. The left-shot defenseman skated in 61 games for Cincinnati last year, posting 13 points and 42 penalty minutes. The former Mississauga Steelheads top-four defenseman signed in England this past summer, with the EIHL’s Coventry Blaze. He went on to play four games for Coventry before he elected to leave the club and return to the ECHL.
- Defenseman Adam Holwell, a 2017-18 Memorial Cup and QMJHL champion with the Acadie-Bathurst Titan, has transferred from the EIHL’s Fife Flyers to Erste Liga’s Corona Brașov, a club in Romania. The Canadian blueliner, who posted 141 points in 329 career QMJHL games, began his pro career last season with his hometown Newfoundland Growlers in the ECHL. Holwell wasn’t great there, though, scoring just three points in 18 combined regular season and playoff games. He didn’t return to the ECHL for his first full campaign as a professional, instead signing in Scotland with the EIHL’s Fife Flyers. Holwell only managed one point in eight games for Fife, and has not played since a November 5th loss at the Guildford Flames where he registered a -3 rating. With Fife winning three of four games since Holwell last dressed for the team, a mutual parting of ways appears to have been the best course of action for both player and club. Holwell will now head to Romania, where he’ll look to carve out a regular role for a team currently sitting in the middle of the standings of the Erste Liga, a league comprised of clubs from both Romania and Hungary.
- HockeyAllsvenskan’s Kalmar HC has signed veteran netminder Christian Engstrand to a one-year contract. The 35-year-old was playing on a short-term contract with the ICEHL’s EC-KAC, and had posted a 6-1-1 record, .939 save percentage, and 1.48 goals-against-average in eight games there. Kalmar is in need of some help in net, as while Jonathan Stålberg has been serviceable as the starter, 19-year-old backup Alexander Hellnemo has shown himself to not quite be ready for such a role. The 35-year-old Engstrand is a quality veteran goalie with some accomplishments on his resume. Most recently, Engstrand led the ICEHL in save percentage and goals-against-average for EC-KAC last season. Earlier in his career, Engstrand had achieved many feats in Swedish pro hockey, such as posting a .935 save percentage in 2012-13 for Linköping HC, posting a .950 save percentage in the Champions Hockey League in 2015-16, and leading Mora IK to promotion from HockeyAllsvenskan to the SHL in 2016-17. While he has not played in Sweden since 2020-21 with HC Vita Hästen, Engstrand is an experienced netminder capable of backstopping Kalmar for their push for SHL promotion.
- Eero Elo, once a quality goal scorer in the Finnish Liiga, KHL, and both Swiss leagues has signed with EHC Freiburg of the German second-tier DEL2. The 33-year-old former Minnesota Wild prospect spent last season playing second-division hockey in Switzerland for HC Thurgau, scoring 20 goals and 44 points in 53 combined regular season and playoff games. Once a player who scored 26 goals in Liiga, Eero has regressed since those days and has not played in a premier European league on a regular basis since his 2019-20 season split between Liiga’s Lukko Rauma and NL’s SCL Tigers. Freiburg are currently 10th in the DEL2 standings, though they rank second in the division in goals scored. Perhaps adding even more firepower through the addition of Elo is what the club needs to climb the DEL2 table.
This page may be updated throughout the day.