When the 2020-21 season ended, Daniel Brickley became a Group VI unrestricted free agent. His two-year contract with the Los Angeles Kings was over, this time without a single NHL game to show for it. Now, he’s headed back to the AHL on a one-year deal with the Chicago Wolves.
Brickley, 26, was a highly sought-after undrafted college free agent in 2018 and visited with several teams including the Detroit Red Wings and San Jose Sharks before eventually signing his entry-level deal with Los Angeles. He had already suited up for an IIHF World Championship with Team USA and was considered a polished two-way defenseman that could step directly into the NHL after an outstanding career at Minnesota State-Mankato.
He actually did step right into the league too, playing one game for the Kings before the end of the 2017-18 season and recording his first NHL point. Things started trending down from there, however, as Brickley would play in just four games for Los Angeles the following season, spending almost the entire year at the AHL level instead. Still, it was enough to earn him another contract, this time a two-year, two-way deal with the Kings in the summer of 2019.
Since then he has only played in 36 games at the AHL level, spending a good chunk of this season on the Kings’ taxi squad instead. He cleared waivers at the beginning of the year and now has accepted an AHL contract, meaning there isn’t another NHL job waiting out there for him. It’s certainly not time to rule Brickley out entirely given his age, but his NHL future doesn’t look promising at this point.