The new year has brought with it a flurry of activity between NHL and AHL rosters. However, the top North American leagues are not alone in a noticeable uptick in transactions. Elsewhere, several other familiar names are making moves. With European leagues closing in on their postseasons prior to the stretch run in the NHL, expect these transactions to appear with greater frequency in the coming weeks, too.
- Former AHL MVP Daniel Carr has finally found some consistency in his career. The skilled forward played for four different NHL teams over the past four seasons and was never able to hold down a roster spot despite his impressive minor league numbers, especially after leaving the Montreal Canadiens. He opted to leave North America last season, inking a two-year deal with HC Lugano of the Swiss National League. Carr only played in eight games for the team in 2020-21, but was a point-per-game player all the same. This year, he has 13 points in 12 games, continuing to make a major impact albeit in limited action. Lugano has decided to reward Carr’s strong play in hopes that he can be a core piece of the team moving forward and Carr has jumped at some long-term stability in his career. The team has announced a new three-year extension for Carr, which will keep him in Switzerland through the 2024-25 season and into mid-thirties. This likely marks the end of Carr’s NHL career, but he could be a superstar in the National League through the duration of his new deal.
- When goaltender Kristers Gudlevskis left North America in 2018, it initially seemed like the right move. Gudlevskis had an excellent first season in the KHL, recording a 2.37 GAA for his hometown team, Dinamo Riga. However, the following season got off to a horrific start and Gudlevskis ended up leaving midseason to play in Germany and then split last year between Austria and Slovakia. Well, Gudlevskis finally found his stride once again in Slovakia between late last season and early this year and now he is elevating back to another top European league. Brynas IF of the SHL has announced a contract with Gudlevskis for the remainder of this season. The former Tampa Bay Lightning net minder will now have a chance to show what he can do at the top level in Sweden in hopes that it leads to another contract with a top club. At 29 and with connections still in North America, a return to the AHL and perhaps even the NHL at some point can’t be ruled out if he continues to perform. His newest gig with Brynas will tell a lot about his ability to play at an elite level.
- Yevgeni Oksentyuk is moving on from his stint in the ECHL, at least for now. The Dallas Stars prospect has played almost exclusively at the “AA” level in his first pro season in North America, but the AHL’s Texas Stars have recalled him from Idaho Steelheads. Oksentyuk, a 2020 sixth-round pick out of Belarus, has nine goals and 16 points in 17 ECHL games this season and appears ready for the next level. The undersized forward will always have to work hard to excel against bigger, stronger competition in North America, but has found success so far in the ECHL and the OHL before that and could continue to develop for the Stars.