After clearing unconditional waivers on Saturday, veteran forward Andreas Martinsen is already well on his way to the next stage of his career. Martinsen has signed a contract with EV Zug of Switzerland’s NLA for the remainder of the season, the team announced. The Norwegian winger is no stranger to the European pro ranks, having played in Norway, Sweden, and Germany before making the leap to the NHL. Martinsen, 29, was somewhat of a late bloomer, going undrafted and not making his North American debut until 2015-16. However, he was an effective role player once he did arrive in the NHL, contributing 23 points but more importantly 446 hits in 152 NHL games between three teams. Although Martinen’s NHL opportunities have dried up in recent years, he can still be a difference-maker for Zug. The team has specifically been on the hunt for a physical forward, and will get that and more from Martinsen, who flashed 40-point potential in previous European stops. Zug currently leads the NLA and look like the favorites to win the championship this year, especially after adding an experienced forward like Martinsen. If everything works out, the two sides could be headed toward a title and possibly even an extended relationship beyond this season.
- A European standout who won’t be making a return to the NHL any time soon, if at all, is KHL forward Teemu Hartikainen. A late round pick of the Edmonton Oilers in 2008, Hartikainen developed into a player beyond what many expected and looked like he could be an impact player in the NHL. The Finnish winger made his NHL debut in 2010, yet by 2013 he was out of the league. Hartikainen was a productive player in the AHL, recording 111 points in 164 games, but less so in the NHL, where he notched just 13 points in 52 games. Still, many felt that Hartikainen’s departure from North America was based more on his desire to play a major role for a major league team than it was on his lack of NHL ability, making him a candidate for a possible future return. However, Hartikainen is now 29 and in his seventh season with the KHL’s Salavat Yulaev Ufa, where he has been one of the club’s most consistent and well-rounded contributors. Hartikainen seems content to remain as a core member for Ufa rather than try his hand at an NHL comeback, as the team has announced a three-year extension with their star. In all likelihood, this means we saw the last of Hartikainen in the NHL back with the Oilers in 2013.
- One player who could be primed for a return though is Dmitrij Jaskin. Jaskin, who spent the past two seasons on Stanley Cup winners in St. Louis and Washington (just not in the right order), was a free agent this off-season and held out nearly all summer for an NHL deal. He begrudgingly accepted a one-year pact with the KHL’s Dynamo Moscow in late August and has made the best of his year outside of North America. The two-way winger is currently tied for second in the league in scoring with 51 points in 49 games and has been a dominant force all season. Granted, the one player ahead of him in the scoring race is teammate Vadim Shipachyov, but the two have been the only consistent contributors on a shallow Dynamo roster. In fact, the team may not even make the playoffs despite the output from their top scorers. A poor team result, even if he has excelled personally, alongside an obvious desire to be in the NHL, could push Jaskin back to North America this summer. NHL clubs have seen him play a strong defensive game, but now have witnessed his offensive upside in the right situation as well. Jaskin certainly seems like a player who is worthy of a second chance.