The Montreal Candiens have yet to cut defenseman Eric Gelinas, in camp on a PTO, but according to TVA’s Renaud Lavoie, an NHL contract is not on the table. Lavoie reports that instead Gelinas has been offered an AHL contract to play with the Habs’ new affiliate, the Laval Rocket. Lavoie is of the opinion that Gelinas will accept the contract and that it could be good for his career. After clearing waivers three separate times last season with the Colorado Avalanche, the league’s worst team, it’s clear that taking a step back and getting a fresh start is not a bad idea for Gelinas. Playing a leadership role in an AHL locker room for a whole season could teach Gelinas consistency and responsibility and a chance at making the Canadian Olympic team would give the 26-year-old the experience of playing an important role in meaningful games.
- Shane Harper tried the PTO route like Gelinas, but rather than settle for an AHL deal, Harper has decided to take his talents overseas. For the Valencia, California native, who was in camp with the Los Angeles Kings, that means choosing to live in a foreign country rather than a half hour from his home town had he signed with the Kings affiliate, the Ontario Reign. Harper has signed with the KHL’s Lada Togliatti, according to a national news source (link in Russian), where he could easily be the best player on a club that has failed to make the playoffs in each of the past three seasons. Harper scored three points in his 14-game “rookie season” with the Florida Panthers in 2016-17 and added 22 more points in 58 AHL games. The article indicates that the KHL was Harper’s first choice once his NHL hopes were dashed this past week.
- One player who has no plans to choose the AHL or KHL any time soon is future Hall of Famer Jarome Iginla. In his “31 Thoughts” article this week, Sportsnet insider Elliotte Friedman reveled that the 40-year-old power forward has even denied having any interest in playing for Team Canada in the upcoming Olympics, as his sole focus is on finding a fit in the NHL. Despite a couple good seasons with the Boston Bruins and Colorado Avalanche, the fact of the matter is that Iginla’s production has been steadily declining since he left the Calgary Flames back in 2013. Last season, Iginla only managed a career-worst 27 points, and that is including a strong showing with the Los Angeles Kings to close out the season. There is always the possibility that someone will come calling for the services – especially the leadership and experience – that Iginla brings and remaining dedicated to playing one last season will only help his chances of being signed. However, with the regular season about to begin, the hard truth is that we may have seen the last of Iginla in the NHL, even if he can’t yet accept that.