It’s the final day of the NHL All-Star break, with teams set to return to the ice tomorrow night. With twelve teams set to do battle and several beginning bye weeks, it’s clear we’re right in the thick of the NHL season. As teams prepare for a crucial stretch of games leading up to the trade deadline, clubs in minor and foreign leagues are making roster tweaks. We’ll keep track of those moves here.
- Stanley Cup champion Carter Rowney has signed an extension to remain with the Frankfurt Lions beyond this season. The 249-game NHL veteran, 33, is in his first season playing professionally in Europe after spending all of last year with the Red Wings. He’s been very good in Germany, scoring 17 goals and 46 points in 45 games, a mark that ranks him 6th on the DEL scoring leaderboard, tied with Red Bull Munich forward Yasim Ehliz.
- HC Slovan Bratislava has brought in a replacement for the departed Carl Ackered on their blueline: Nate Kallen. The reigning Slovak champions signed Kallen, 25, to bring some two-way prowess to their back end. The 2020 Hobey Baker nominee arrives in Bratislava having spent this year with the ECHL’s Maine Mariners, where he posted 18 points in 34 games. It’s been a busy week for Slovan, as about a week ago the team made another signing, bringing in 2014 first-round pick Nikita Scherbak.
- Former Winnipeg Jets prospect J.C. Lipon has signed an extension to remain with his current club, the DEL’s Straubing Tigers. Lipon has been a good fit in Bavaria since arriving from the KHL, scoring 17 goals and 29 points in 44 games, giving the team ample motivation to lock him down to this extension. The former Manitoba Moose alternate captain, who has nine NHL games on his resume, has helped the Tigers rank among the top teams in the DEL this season.
- Grizzlies Wolfsburg, a team in the DEL, has reportedly signed a contract for next season with Chris Wilkie, a forward who plays for another team in their league: the Bietigheim Steelers. This is the former Florida Panthers prospect’s first professional season in Europe, and it has gone decently well. He ranks second on the Steelers in goal scoring with 12 in 36 games and offers experience from both his time as an AHL forward and from his days playing college hockey. Since the Steelers look like a real candidate for relegation to the DEL2 for next season, this reported contract gives Wilkie the chance to remain in the German top division.
- The DEL’s Eisbaren Berlin are reportedly interested in signing Red Bull Munich forward Freddy Tiffels for next season. Tiffels is a former Pittsburgh Penguins draft pick who has spent the last half-decade as a DEL regular. He scored 49 points in 45 games last season but has seen his offense decline sharply this season to just 25 points in 45 games. Perhaps a change of scenery and a move to Berlin, as the team seems to be eyeing, could be what Tiffels needs to return to the top end of the scoring leaderboard.
- Veteran DEL blueliner Dominik Bittner will reportedly leave his current club, Grizzlies Wolfsburg, and head to EHC Red Bull Munchen for next season. The 30-year-old has nearly 500 games of DEL experience under his belt, and has spent the last four seasons manning the blueline in Wolfsburg. He represented Germany at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics and will head to the three-time DEL champions for next season.
- Per a team announcement, French forward Justin Addamo has been released from his PTO with the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins and sent back to the ECHL’s Wheeling Nailers. Adddamo, 24, is in his first professional season since leaving the college ranks. He’s done pretty well, scoring 18 goals and 25 points in 38 games, and will look to help the Nailers gain ground in the ECHL’s Central Division.
- Forward Jimmy Soper has been traded to the ECHL’s Rapid City Rush, per the league’s official transactions report. Soper, 27, played one season for the Kitchener Rangers at the junior level and has worked his way up from Junior A to Canadian university hockey, to the SPHL, and now to the ECHL, where he’s become a solid offensive contributor. Soper, who brings offensive ability as well as an edge to his game, heads to Rapid City from the Norfolk Admirals. Soper was traded to the Admirals from the Tulsa Oilers for Tag Bertuzzi, the son of former NHLer Todd Bertuzzi and cousin of current Detroit Red Wing Tyler Bertuzzi. Soper scored 71 points in 105 games over two seasons in Tulsa, and now finds a new home in Rapid City to continue his ECHL career.
- Aleksi Rekonen seems to have found a home in Czechia. The Finnish forward, a veteran of Liiga and the Swedish second division (HockeyAllsvenskan), has signed a contract extension to remain with his current club, HC Plzen, beyond this season. Rekonen has been solid for Plzen, scoring 10 goals and 29 points in 44 games, marks that rank second on the team in scoring.
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