All eyes are on Montreal tonight as the Canadiens try to hold off the Tampa Bay Lightning and stay alive in the Stanley Cup Finals. Beyond that series though, the rest of the hockey world continues to get work done in a shortened offseason. We’ll keep track of all the notable minor moves right here.
- Linus Omark, one of the most dynamic stick handlers in the world, is heading back to Sweden for the 2021-22 season. The 34-year-old has signed a three-year contract (technically one plus two option years) with Lulea HF in the SHL for next season, following his outstanding stop in Switzerland. During the 2020-21 season, Omark recorded 22 goals and 61 points in just 49 games for Genève-Servette HC. If you don’t remember his time in the NHL, there was nothing quite like his shootout winner in the first game of his career.
- Josh Atkinson, who has spent the last two seasons with the Iowa Wild, will replace the retiring Paul Geiger on Fehérvár AV19 in the ICEHL. The 28-year-old Atkinson went undrafted before attending the University of Alaska-Fairbanks, where he caught the eye of several professional teams. In his first season in the ECHL with the Atlanta Gladiators, the skilled defenseman scored 50 points in 66 games.
- Rinat Valiev, who played 12 games in the NHL several years ago, has signed with Ak Bars Kazan of the KHL. Valiev sat out the 2020-21 season, last playing with the Stockton Heat in 2019-20. Still just 26, the 2014 third-round pick has plenty of playing years left, even if they aren’t coming in North America.
- Quebec native and former QMJHL standout Alexandre Fortin is returning home, signing a one-year deal with the AHL’s Laval Rocket per a team release. Fortin got off to a hot start in his pro career with a strong AHL debut season with the Rockford Ice Hogs followed by 24 games with the Chicago Blackhawks the following year. However, Fortin has since not seen any more NHL action and when his entry-level contract expired last off-season, Chicago chose not to extend a qualifying offer. He played for the AHL’s Colorado Eagles this past season but failed to make much of an impact. Fortin is hoping to rediscover his scoring touch back home in Quebec.