Just days after the QMJHL announced a month-long pause due to the heightened spread of the Coronavirus, another league is set to make a similar call, but this time it’s a pro league out of Europe. According to a number of sources including The Athletic’s Saad Yousuf, the Finnish Liiga is expected to halt all play through the month of December. This move is expected to carry over to Finland’s junior leagues as well. A number of NHL prospects will be impacted, as will NHL players currently on loan who will return to North America sooner than expected. It does seem as though the shut down will end in January, but the COVID numbers in Finland will ultimately determine when play resumes.
- Veteran NHL forward Magnus Paajarvi opted to take his talents to Russia last summer, signing a two-year deal with the KHL’s Lokomotiv Yaroslavl. His first season fell short of expectations, as Paajarvi played in only 39 games and recorded just 19 points. His second season has started off much better, as Paajarvi already has 11 ponts through 26 games and will far exceed last season if he stays healthy. Yaroslavl decided to take advantage of the success of the impending free agent, as they have traded Paajarvi to Dynamo Moscow in exchange for another name familiar to NHL fans, Teemu Pulkkinen. Given that Paajarvi was still a serviceable bottom-six forward when he left the NHL, is on pace for a superior season this year with his contract expiring, and has now abandoned any loyalty he might have felt to the KHL club he initially signed with, this could all be leading to an NHL comeback for the skilled power forward next year.
- Detroit Red Wings prospect Chase Bradley has made his collegiate selection. The 2020 seventh-round pick out of the USHL has committed to the University of Connecticut, the program announced. The St. Louis native is a hard-working forward who is expecting to take a big step forward offensively in his final junior season before moving to the NCAA. Bradley becomes the second NHL prospect commitment for the Huskies this month, as fellow 2020 seventh-rounder Ryan Tverberg (TOR) will also join UConn next season.