September is upon us, but the hockey futures of many players are still up in the air. While high-profile NHL unrestricted and restricted free agents still remain in the hunt for a big league contract, others are sorting out minor league deals and tryout agreements:
- The Boston Bruins inked veteran defenseman Mark Fayne and German import Marcel Noebels to PTO’s yesterday, but they’ve added another tryout to the camp roster as well. Appearing with the group slated to begin the preseason in Boston, rather than on the road in China, is defenseman Joel Messner. Messner, a recent graduate of the University of Nebraska-Omaha, was a four year starter for the Mavericks and captained the team last season. The 24-year-old blue liner scored more points last year, 23, than he did in his previous three campaigns combined, showing some remaining potential to his game. Given the Bruins dramatic defensive depth, both at the NHL and AHL level, Messner may be only be trying out for a two-way minor league deal to perhaps headline the Bruins’ ECHL defensive unit with the Atlanta Gladiators. Nonetheless, he could make for an intriguing player to watch for in camp.
- Tyler Soy, an unsigned 2016 seventh-round pick of the Anaheim Ducks, has stuck with the organization. Soy signed a one-year deal with the San Diego Gulls today, the Ducks’ AHL affiliate announced. The 21-year-old center played two games with the Gulls at the tail end of the 2016-17 season and must have made a good impression. He also finished second in scoring for the WHL’s Victoria Royals last year, registering 92 points in 66 games. Soy has the ability to be a difference-maker in the AHL and could soon re-establish himself as an NHL prospect.
- The AHL’s Bakersfield Condors, affiliate of the Edmonton Oilers, have re-signed forward David Gust to a one-year deal, the team announced. Gust, a first-year pro last season, led all Condors rookies with 13 goals and 24 points. The 24-year-old right wing is a former Ohio State standout, recording 41 points in 39 games as a senior. Bakersfield hopes to see some of that upside in the coming season.
- Gasper Kopitar, brother of L.A.’s Anze Kopitar, is staying in the system. The ECHL’s Manchester Monarchs have announced a one-year extension for their Slovenian superstar. Kopitar was under contract, but did not play for the Monarchs last season due to injury. Healthy and re-committed, he is back to work with Manchester. With this deal, the Kings organization has now kept the younger Kopitar employed in North America for more than five years, even though he has never played above the ECHL level. Although New Hampshire is quite a ways from California, it is surely a gesture that the Kings’ captain appreciates.