Many prominent free agents, restricted and unrestricted, remain unsigned, but the NHL markets largely remain relatively quiet. However, minor league teams, foreign clubs, and college programs continue to make make moves in preparation for the coming season. Keep up with all of those minor transactions here:
- The Toronto Maple Leafs announced their roster for their upcoming prospects tournament today, which included a slew of recent draft picks as well as recently signed young players. It also featured a large group of prospects currently signed to AHL deals with the Toronto Marlies, including two previously unreported extensions. According to the roster, incumbent forwards Ryan Moore and Hudson Elynuik have re-signed with the Marlies. Moore, 22, played in just one AHL game last season, but was effective in the ECHL just as he was at the junior level, despite a diminutive frame. He’ll be hoping to impress in the tournament in hopes of getting a chance to show his size won’t limit him at the next level either. Elynuik, 21, was a third-round pick of the Carolina Hurricanes in 2016, but the team opted not to sign him. In his first pro season last year, the massive center skated in ten games with the Marlies and was a near point-per-game scorer in the ECHL. He should be ready to take on a larger role in the AHL this coming season.
- Philip Samuelsson is headed overseas. The 28-year-old defenseman, one of three hockey-playing sons of Ulf Samuelsson, has done all he can to stick in North America for several years. A second-round pick of the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2009 and a standout at Boston College, Samuelsson entered the pro game with high expectations. However, over his eight-year career to date, Samuelsson has been almost entirely relegated to the AHL, skating in just 13 total NHL games and recording zero points. In fact, Samuelsson failed to even land an NHL contract last season, playing with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms on a minor league pact. The Swedish-American defender has been a solid AHL contributor, but is looking for more in his career. He hopes to find it with Mountfield HK of the Czech Extraliga, who announced a one-year deal today. Samuelsson will undoubtedly be one of the best players on the team, but the question is whether he will be dominant enough at the top Czech pro level to turn any heads back in the NHL.
- Anyone hoping for an NHL return for Damien Brunner can put those thoughts to rest. The 33-year-old Swiss forward has signed a three-year extension with the NLA’s EHC Biel-Bienne, the team announced, all but guaranteeing that his days in North America are over. After dominating the NLA early in his career, Brunner made the jump to the NHL in 2012. He enjoyed a pair of strong – albeit injury-riddled – seasons with the Detroit Red Wings and New Jersey Devils, totaling 51 points in 101 regular season games and a great 2013 postseason with five goals and nine points in 14 games. However, as soon as that production began to slip in his third NHL season, Brunner returned to Switzerland. As he continued to struggle with injuries, Brunner failed to re-gain his dominant form over the last few years. That is until last season, when he notched 37 points in 50 games for a well-timed bounce back campaign in a contract year. Biel-Bienne clearly did not want to lose their veteran leader, locking him down on a multi-year deal, something no NHL team would have entertained.