Nicholas Baptiste found new life with the Texas Stars this season, getting his career back on track with 23 points in 34 AHL games. The 25-year-old forward will now head overseas to play for Ilves in Finland, where he could find even more offensive success. A third-round pick of the Buffalo Sabres in 2013, Baptiste played 47 games with the team between 2016-18, scoring ten points. He’s been stuck in the minor leagues ever since, suiting up for the Milwaukee Admirals, Toronto Marlies and Belleville Senators in addition to the Stars.
An unrestricted free agent that was playing under an AHL deal, Baptiste is still young enough to go to Europe, boost his value and potentially return on an NHL contract down the line. He’ll have to perform, obviously, but this may not be the last we’ve heard of Baptiste in North American pro hockey.
- The Montreal Canadiens have hired Trevor Letowski as an assistant coach for the upcoming season, adding him to Dominique Ducharme’s staff. Letowski, who played more than 600 games in the NHL, was the head coach of the Windsor Spitfires for four seasons before this new appointment, though he didn’t get to serve during the canceled 2020-21 OHL season. Letowski joins a staff that already had assistants Alexandre Burrows and Luke Richardson, the latter of which signed a new three-year contract recently.
- The Columbus Blue Jackets have reached an affiliation agreement with the Kalamazoo Wings of the ECHL, joining forces once again. The two were affiliates between 2014-16, but the Wings had other agreements with the Tampa Bay Lightning and Vancouver Canucks since then. For the 2021-22 season, after opting out of the ECHL season this year, they’ll be linked to the Blue Jackets, meaning they’ll receive some of their lower-end prospects. The ECHL is especially important for goaltending prospects, who need playing time above all else for their continued development.