Today is supposed to be about significant others, and the NHL did their part with just two games on the docket, but there are some significant moves worth paying attention to as well, both at home and abroad. Keep up with all of the day’s minor transactions right here:
- In some surprising news that will certainly require a follow-up, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers have released Nick Pastujov from his AHL contract, according to league’s transaction log. Pastujov, a New York Islanders 2016 draft pick, signed with Bridgeport this fall following a successful four-year stint at the University of Michigan. Although the Isles seemingly felt he was not ready for an entry-level contract, they wanted to keep the prospect winger within the organization. Yet, without having even played a game for the Sound Tigers, Pastujov has been released from the team. It is unclear whether this was his decision or if the move was prompted by the club. The oldest of three brothers, with Michael also at Michigan and Sasha bound for Notre Dame and looking like a potential first-round NHL draft pick, Nick looked primed to begin the Pastujov era in pro hockey. It will be interesting to see what comes next for the young forward.
- Another problem prospect for the Islanders, Joshua Ho-Sang is on the move again. Still technically under contract with New York, Ho-Sang was loaned to the SHL’s Orebro HK last month. After just five games – and one point – that relationship has already been terminated. Ho-Sang has now signed on with another Swedish club, Linkoping HC, hopefully for the rest of the season, the team announced. Ho-Sang will be a restricted free agent at the end of this season, but it seems unlikely that the Islanders will extend a qualifying offer.
- After bouncing around the AHL over the past few seasons, former Winnipeg Jets defenseman Julian Melchiori has found a home in Germany. Melchiori, who had played on an NHL contract in each of his first eight pro seasons, became an unrestricted free agent this off-season when his contract with the New Jersey Devils expired. Unable to find another NHL deal, Melchiori first signed in the KHL but terminated his deal in favor of a contract with the DEL’s Grizzlys Wolfsburg. Germany’s top league also had a delayed start to their season, but in just 15 games so far Melchiori has apparently impressed his new club and has enjoyed the fit himself. Wolfsburg has announced that the two sides have already agreed to a one-year extension. The team’s release called Melchiori a “leader” and “top performer” who “integrated very quickly”.
- Another former NHL defenseman, Marc-Andre Gragnani, has signed a new contract in Europe as well. Gragnani has inked a deal for the remainder of the SHL season with Djurgardens IF, the team announced. Since he last played in the NHL as a member of the New Jersey Devils in 2015-16, Gragnani has been stellar for the KHL’s Dinamo Minsk and Kunlun Red Star as one of the better offensive defensemen in the league. Even at 33, it would not be a surprise if Gragnani’s late signing this season was due to his desire to find a contract in the NHL. A journeyman in his North American days who was always far more effective in the AHL than the NHL, Gragnani no doubt has more confidence after several high-scoring seasons in Europe. He will have to re-focus now on helping his new Swedish club, as Djurgardens is still fighting for a playoff spot despite severely lacking talent on the blue line.