The Stanley Cup Playoffs are front and center right now, especially with Round Two now on the schedule, but there still continue to be some meaningful moves made elsewhere around the hockey world. Here are some of those recent notable minor transactions:
- After a mutual termination of his contract was completed earlier this month, former Boston Bruins prospect Pavel Shen has found his new team; well, a new, old team. After playing with the KHL’s HK Sochi on loan to begin the 2020-21 season, Shen has opted to return to the club on a more permanent basis. Sochi has signed Shen to a one-year deal for next season. Where his career takes him after that remains unknown. Shen flashed good two-way ability in his pair of seasons with AHL Providence and seemed like he was on his way to becoming a solid depth option – a good value for a 2018 seventh-round pick. However, if Boston felt he had long-term NHL upside they would not have terminated his contract so easily. Shen seems destined to spend his career at home in Russia, but continued development could put him back on NHL radars.
- After a 15-year pro career, including eight seasons in the NHL with six different teams, Andrew Ebbett has decided to hang up his skates. However, he won’t be leaving the game behind just yet. Swiss club SC Bern, where Ebbett spent five seasons following his NHL career, has announced that they have hired the veteran as their “sports director” i.e. general manager. Ebbett brings plenty of experience, including a number of years in the NLA, to the position. He also expanded his knowledge of the European game while playing his final season this year with EHC Munich of the German DEL. A versatile, two-way player and locker room presence throughout his career, Ebbett is well suited to lead the club.
- In an uncommon move for today’s day and age, U.S. National Team Development Program forward Liam Gilmartin has decided to switch development paths and join the OHL’s London Knights next season. Gilmartin, a 2021 NHL Draft product, was expected to follow the collegiate path like nearly all USNTDP products, having committed to Providence College. Instead, he will forego his NCAA eligibility and join the major junior ranks. A big winger with high-end stick skills, Gilmartin is expected to be drafted as early as the late second round in July after finishing among the top-six scoring forwards for the U-18 team this year. How this development decision impacts his draft stock remains to be seen.
- The USHL held their Phase I Draft for all 2005 players on Wednesday and the more intriguing Phase II Draft for all other uncommitted prospects on Thursday. While there were many players selected in both drafts with familiar names to past NHL players and executives alike, some of the most interesting picks were those that seem hardly likely to pan out. Presumptive 2022 and 2023 NHL Draft first overall picks, Shane Wright and Connor Bedard respectively, were each selected in the later rounds of the Phase II draft. While neither seems like to abandon their current teams – Wright with the OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs and Bedard with the WHL’s Regina Pats – this year saw a number of Canadian major junior players jump to the USHL with their own leagues on hold. The Chicago Steel (Wright) and Dubuque Fighting Saints (Bedard) would certainly be excited if their late-round waivers panned out somehow. For a full list of USHL Draft selections, follow this link.