In April, the Dallas Stars decided to hand depth defenseman Joel Hanley a two-year contract extension. At the time, it was clear that the deal had at least some level of expansion draft motivation, given he needed just three more games to fill the exposure requirements for Dallas. He did end up playing those games, finishing with 35 contests on the season, but will now face a long rehab. Hanley underwent successful surgery to repair a core muscle injury today. He is expected to be recovered in time for the 2021-22 season, though these surgeries are notorious for keeping players at less than full strength for some time after they are cleared to return.
Even though that extension was at least partially due to the expansion draft, it’s not like Hanley didn’t deserve it. The 30-year-old has been a perfect extra defenseman for the Stars the last few seasons, coming in and out of the lineup when necessary to provide bottom-pairing minutes. He even played in 12 games during last year’s bubble playoffs, scoring his first NHL goal to open the scoring in game one of the Stanley Cup finals.
- The Toronto Marlies have signed a pair of forwards, inking Antti Suomela and Ryan Chyzowski to AHL contracts today. Suomela, 27, has played in 51 NHL games, all with the San Jose Sharks and was acquired by the Maple Leafs in a deal for Alexander Barabanov at the deadline. Chyzowski perhaps is the more interesting of the pair, if only because of his age. The 21-year-old undrafted forward has spent the last five seasons with the Medicine Hat Tigers and scored 11 goals and 29 points in the shortened 2020-21 campaign. Chyzowski is on a two-year minor league deal, while Suomela signed for just one.
- When Liam Kirk was selected by the Arizona Coyotes 189th overall in 2018, he became the first player born and trained in England to be drafted. The Sheffield Steelers product then spent two seasons in the OHL, before heading overseas once again in 2020-21. Just recently, Kirk put the NHL on notice when he scored seven times to tie for the lead at the World Championship, despite his Great Britain team only 13 goals in the whole tournament. Now, as Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet reports, Kirk has been given permission to speak to other teams around the league despite still being under the control of Arizona. His draft rights will expire next June, so a trade would actually have to happen before he could sign an entry-level contract.