The ECHL was dealt a huge blow today when six more teams opted out, leaving more than 100 players looking for work. Minor league names will be popping up in new places over the new few weeks, and we’ll keep track of any notable deals right here.
- The Wheeling Nailers, one of the teams still planning on playing this season in the ECHL, signed Dane Birks and Matt Foley today. Birks, 25, was actually still on the entry-level contract he signed with the Pittsburgh Penguins until just recently, when the Arizona Coyotes—who had acquired him as part of the Phil Kessel deal—decided not to extend him a qualifying offer. Foley meanwhile has spent the last four seasons at Yale University but will now start his professional career with the Nailers.
- The Nailers will be losing one of their key forwards after Yushiroh Hirano signed with the Cincinnati Cyclones today. Hirano, 25, has scored 92 points over the last two seasons for Wheeling and has had quite the career so far. The Japanese forward has played in several different leagues around the world and even suited up for his country during Olympic qualifiers.
- Alex Smith, the captain of the Michigan Tech team in 2019-20 (not the Washington Football Team quarterback), has signed with the Florida Everblades to start his pro career. The 25-year-old scored 23 points in 39 games for the Huskies last season.