A pair of former NHLers are staying across the Atlantic Ocean for the 2022-23 campaign. Swedish winger Pontus Aberg has signed a one-year agreement with BK Mladá Boleslav in the Czech Extraliga, while Canadian forward Ryan Spooner is remaining in the KHL with Dinamo Minsk.
Aberg, 28, attempted an NHL comeback last season when he signed a one-year deal with the Ottawa Senators. However, he was waived prior to the season and spent 17 games with the Belleville Senators before mutually terminating his contract to return to Sweden with Timrå IK in the SHL. He netted two goals, nine assists, and 11 points in those 17 games with Belleville. Aberg’s last taste of NHL action came in 2019-20, where he got a five-game look with the Toronto Maple Leafs, registering one assist. A second-round pick of the Nashville Predators in 2012, Aberg could really never hold onto a full-time NHL role, shuffling between the NHL and AHL in nearly every season he spent in North America.
Spooner hasn’t been in the league since 2018-19, when he split the season between the New York Rangers, Edmonton Oilers, and Vancouver Canucks. He’s been one of the best scorers in the KHL since then, and after one year in Yekaterinburg, he returns to Dinamo Minsk where he led the club in scoring in 2019-20 with 37 points in 43 games. Spooner had a few NHL stretches where it looked like he could become a great middle-six depth piece, especially when he scored 41 points in 59 games between the Rangers and Boston Bruins in 2017-18. His offense disappeared the next season, however, and he hasn’t returned to North America. Now 30 years old, it’s unlikely he ever will.