For fringe NHL players sitting unsigned now into September, European offers are starting to look pretty tempting. For Jayce Hawryluk, it’s Sweden that will be the setting for the next chapter in his hockey career. The young forward has signed a one-year deal with Skelleftea AIK in the SHL.
Hawryluk, 25, played in 30 games for the Vancouver Canucks last season, taking his NHL total to 98 thus far. He was not issued a qualifying offer at the end of the year, making him an unrestricted free agent, and now he’s headed overseas to find playing time. It’s an interesting choice for a player who has substantial NHL playing time in each of the last three seasons, but it certainly doesn’t mean Hawryluk’s North American career is over.
Selected 32nd overall by the Florida Panthers in 2014 during an outstanding junior career, he has shown an ability to drive play in the minor leagues. In 2018-19, the last time he spent regular time in the AHL, he had 32 points in 31 games for the Springfield Thunderbirds. In fact, Hawryluk actually does have 27 points in his 98-game NHL career, pretty good production for a player that has averaged fewer than ten minutes of ice time. He’ll be a player to keep an eye on after his contract with Skelleftea expires, as a return to the NHL is certainly possible at some point, even as a depth player.