While the NHL season is already past the quarter pole, the AHL is still just getting started and Canadian juniors are still working on a return, while on the other hand the NCAA is headed toward tournament time shortly and European leagues are in the home stretch of the season. With so much variation in seasons, there is no telling what could be happening on any given day. One thing that is certain is that there continue to be notable moves outside the NHL on a daily basis:
- There is no shortage of demand for Cory Conacher in Switzerland. The veteran NHL forward previously spent the 2015-16 with SC Bern of the Swiss National League before returning to North America. Even before last season ended, and it was clear that Conacher’s four-year stint with the Tampa Bay Lightning was over, there were reports that Swiss clubs were clamoring to bring him back. Conacher wound up signing with Lausanne HC this off-season, but is on the move again. Conacher has left Lausanne to return to Bern, but this is not simply a rental contract between the 31-year-old and the NLA’s 11th-place team. Instead, Bern has announced a three-year deal, including the remainder of this season, keeping Conacher in the NLA through at least 2022-23. Given the fanfare that Conacher enjoys in Switzerland and a new multi-year contract, it is probably safe to say that we have seen the last of him in the NHL.
- After negotiating his release from the AHL’s Laval Rocket earlier this week, Sam Vigneault has now signed with the Eispiraten Crimmitschau of the DEL2, Germany’s second-tier league. It is a strange transition for Vigneault, a former Columbus Blue Jackets prospect. Granted he has never been able to rise above the AHL in his pro career, but he has still been a serviceable player in the minors. To drop to the level of the DEL2 is unexpected and, though it is only a contract for the remainder of the season, one has to wonder what the future holds for Vigneault.
- William Wallinder, the first pick in the second round of the 2020 NHL Draft by the Detroit Red Wings, is looking ahead to next season with the SHL in his sights. A long-time member of MODO, suiting up for their junior teams and over the past two seasons in the second-tier Allsvenskan, the 18-year-old Wallinder will be a free agent after this season and is looking for a new challenge. After being heavily courted by a number of SHL teams, Swedish news source Kvalls Posten reports that Wallinder has elected to sign with the SHL’s Rogle BK. The two sides have only agreed to terms thus far and nothing official has been disclosed, but expect Wallinder to suit up for Rogle for at least one season if not longer. Should he find success at the top level in Sweden, the Red Wings won’t want to wait too long to bring the big, smooth-skating defender to North America.