When the Anaheim Ducks loaned rookie Isac Lundestrom to Team Sweden for the World Junior Championship in the midst of a campaign split between the NHL and AHL, it was a hint that perhaps the experiment was over with the 19-year-old for this season. This has now in fact been confirmed, as agent Martin Nilsson tells Swedish news source Aftonbladet that Lundestrom has returned to Sweden for the remainder of the season. Although the Ducks’ recent first-round pick, No. 23 overall last June, showed signs of promise in his first foray into North American hockey, he nevertheless had failed to produce. Lundestrom, in burning the first year of his entry-level contract, played in 15 games with Anaheim but only recorded two assists. In 12 games with the AHL’s San Diego Gulls, Lundestrom only managed six assists. After half a season with zero goals and limited opportunity to score them, Lundestrom is set to return to his Swedish club Lulea, where he played exclusively with the top team last season. After a WJC in which Sweden struggled but Lundestrom excelled, recording four points in five games, Nilsson says that the youngster is eager to return home and take on a key role for his club. He remains in conversation with Anaheim and, more likely than not, will be back with the organization to begin next season. In the meantime, the Ducks hope to see more of his offensive potential as he takes on the Swedish Hockey League.
- Another player who could be on the move soon is Montreal Canadiens forward Charles Hudon. Marc Antoine Godin of The Athletic recently sat down with Hudon’s agent, Allain Roy, and discovered that the young forward has asked the Canadiens to give him a chance to play. While Godin would not go so far as to say that Hudon demanded a trade, the 24-year-old did allegedly tell the team that he wants a chance and, if it isn’t in Montreal, he would like to be moved elsewhere. “Charlie wants to play in the National Hockey League”, said Roy, “He’s a good player, and we’re still waiting for an answer whether it’s from Montreal or anywhere else.” After a 30-point performance in his first full NHL season last year, it’s fair for Hudon to be discouraged with how this season is going. Expected to be top-nine contributor, Hudon has instead been a frequent scratch and has played the majority of his 23 games on the team’s fourth line with Matthew Peca and Nicolas Deslauriers, despite ample opportunity to line up elsewhere. The trio has combined for just 17 points and Hudon has only contributed four. The Canadiens have opted to hold on to Hudon rather than risk him on waivers, even at the cost of recent claims Nikita Scherbak and Jacob de la Rose, but continue to deny him an opportunity to succeed. Godin wonders what the market would look like for a player like Hudon, whose size and skill set are ill-fitted for checking line work but who has yet to truly prove himself as a top-nine scoring option. Hudon would most likely not clear waivers if any team could grab him for free, but will anyone be willing to ante up to acquire the eager winger from the Canadiens? If the team doesn’t start giving him a larger role, we’ll soon find out the answer to that question.
- Already on his way to a new team is Tye McGinn. Unlike Jamie and Brock, the middle McGinn brother is without an NHL contract this season for the first time in his eight-year pro career. McGinn, 28, had been playing for the AHL’s Manitoba Moose, affiliate of the Winnipeg Jets, but yesterday was traded to the Chicago Wolves, affiliate of the Vegas Golden Knights. This ended up being the “future considerations” side of the Jets’ acquisition of defenseman Jimmy Oligny from Vegas. With the Knights looking playoff-bound again this season, the McGinn acquisition could yield an intriguing late-season signing option. The team is sure to take a look at how the veteran two-way forward performs for their farm team and could decide he is worthy of stashing as a deep depth piece for the stretch run and postseason. McGinn was last an NHL regular in 2014-15, but has always produced consistently in the minors and shown good checking ability at the next level. Vegas has only two roster spots open as of now, but depending on how their trade deadline plans shake out, could dedicate one of those slots to McGinn later on.