It’s another busy day in the hockey world, and the respective seasons of four NHL franchises are on the line tonight. The New York Islanders, Florida Panthers, Minnesota Wild, and defending champion Colorado Avalanche are each down in their series hoping to even the playing field and force an all-important Game 7.
Over in Europe, Czechia’s HC Ocelari Trinec captured their fourth-straight Extraliga title in a row. In Sweden, Djurgarden IF kept their dreams of promotion to the SHL alive with a dramatic game-tying goal from Linus Klasen with just two minutes left in regulation. Fredrik Forsberg scored in double overtime to force a Game Seven in their promotion play-off final against MoDo Hockey Ornskoldsvik and erase their 3-1 series deficit. With Djurgarden’s playoff run fueled by starring performances from NHL first-round picks such as Liam Ohgren and Jonathan Lekkerimaki, Game 7 on Sunday will be one to watch.
Teams across the hockey world are seeking to build a team that can create their own signature moments next season, and there have been quite a few transactions as teams attempt to build their rosters for the next campaign. We’ll keep track of those moves here.
- Former NHL journeyman and AHL All-Star Matt Puempel has signed an extension to remain with his club of the last two seasons, the DEL’s Augsburg Panthers. Puempel, 30, was a 2011 first-round pick whose exceptional AHL scoring numbers never quite managed to translate to the NHL. He went to Europe after 2019-20 and began in the SHL with the Malmo Redhawks, but after struggling there he has played the last two years in Augsburg. He scored 55 points in 69 career DEL games.
- Alexander Hellnemo, NHL Central Scouting’s top-ranked European goaltender for the 2023 NHL draft, has departed SHL side Skelleftea AIK to sign a two-year contract with league rival Rogle BK. The 19-year-old went undrafted in his first year of eligibility but now lands at the top of central scouting due to an impressive age-19 season. He earned nine games played with one of the SHL’s best teams and posted a .916 save percentage at the J20 Nationell level. Now, he’ll get an opportunity at Rogle to potentially make a push to play even more in Sweden’s top league.
- Orebro of the SHL have landed a solid player, signing Finnish center Hannes Bjorninen to a two-year deal from Brynas IF, who were relegated to HockeyAllsvenskan. The 27-year-old is a master at the face-off dot, having led Liiga in face-off win percentage three times. He’s a former captain of Liiga’s Lahti Pelicans and has an Olympic gold medal and IIHF World Championship gold and silver medals in his trophy case. He’ll join a squad looking to make an even deeper run for an SHL championship next year after this season reaching the semifinals.
- 2023 draft prospect Bennet Rossmy, Central Scouting’s 126th-ranked European skater, has signed with the DEL’s Dusseldorfer EG, leaving his club of this past season the Berlin Polar Bears. Like Hellnemo, the 19-year-old went undrafted in his first year of eligibility but offers intriguing six-foot-three size. This season’s DEL Rookie of the Year scored four points in 39 games for Berlin, having a personally successful season despite the fact that Berlin themselves disappointed, as they failed to make the playoffs despite winning it all last season.
- 33-year-old Johan Persson will extend his prolific run of goal-scoring at Mora IK in HockeyAllsvenskan for a few more years. Per a team announcement, Persson has signed a two-year contract extension to remain with Mora. Persson helped Timra IK earn promotion to the SHL in 2017-18 and has been a leading goal scorer for the last four seasons for Mora. He’s led HockeyAllsvenskan in goal scoring the past two seasons and has scored 59 goals and 103 points in his last 102 games in Sweden’s second division.
- Tyler Morley, a well-traveled top scorer in multiple European pro leagues is now headed to Switzerland for the first time in his career. Switzerland’s EHC Kloten announced Morley’s signing, giving them an undersized yet deadly Canadian scorer. The 31-year-old scored 16 goals and 45 points in the regular season for the DEL’s Grizzlies Wolfsburg (who fell in the Semifinals to EHC Red Bull Munich) and scored 35 points in 48 games in Liiga the year before, helping Tappara Tampere win a title. Now, he’ll hope to have that same success in the Swiss league, one of the few top European leagues he hasn’t yet skated in.
- After a season as an alternate captain in HockeyAllsvenskan with Sodertalje SK, Johan Ivarsson has earned his place back in the SHL. The 27-year-old has signed with the Malmo Redhawks for next season. The left-shot blueliner played this past season in Sweden’s second division after two seasons in Liiga playing for TPS Turku. This is somewhat of a homecoming for Ivarsson, as he played for the Redhawks as a teenager at lower levels and even helped them achieve promotion to the SHL in 2014-15. With Malmo only narrowly avoiding relegation this season, they bring back a familiar defenseman who should add experience and stability to their back end.
- Former Edmonton Oilers prospect Tyler Vesel is headed back to HockeyAllsvenskan to help Brynas IF earn promotion next season. The 29-year-old 2014 sixth-round pick has become something of a promotion specialist in recent years. He nearly earned IF Bjorkloven promotion in 2020-21, scoring 46 points in 51 games. Last season, he scored 46 points in 52 games and a whopping 21 points in 15 playoff games to earn HV71 Jonkoping promotion back to the SHL. His year in the SHL was less strong, and he finished with just 14 points in 46 games. Now, he’s headed back to his old stomping grounds, Sweden’s second tier of hockey, to give another club the chance to rise to Sweden’s top league.