As free agent activity in the NHL slows down, most of the player-movement focus in the world’s top league revolves around upcoming arbitration cases for restricted free agents. Just as those prominent players and their representatives are hard at work negotiating terms of new contracts or preparing cases for the arbitration process, teams across the hockey world are hard at work signing players and adding players to their rosters for next season. As always, we’ll keep track of notable transactions from around the world of professional hockey here.
- Zachary Senyshyn, a player perhaps best known for being part of the Boston Bruins’ infamous trio of consecutive first-round picks at the 2015 draft, has decided to continue his pro career overseas. The speedy 26-year-old forward has signed a contract with the Schwenninger Wild Wings of the DEL. The move comes after Senyshyn’s most recent season in North America, a year where he struggled to make much of an impact and ended up traded for future considerations mid-season. While Senyshyn scored 19 goals and earned an NHL call-up in 2021-22 he only managed 18 points in 62 games in 2022-23. Senyshyn already crossed the 260 professional games threshold last season and this year crossed the 320 game threshold, meaning per the AHL’s development rule he no longer qualifies as a “development player” under any of those two limits. That would make earning another shot in the AHL even more difficult and has likely contributed to his choice to take his services to Germany.
- The AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins have re-signed forward Trenton Bliss to a one-year contract extension. Bliss is fresh off a stellar campaign in the ECHL for the Griffins’ affiliate, the Toledo Walleye. He scored 40 points in 38 regular-season games and 14 points in 13 playoff contests. The 25-year-old former Michigan Tech All-Star was the ECHL’s Rookie of the Month for January and clearly impressed in the third-tier league. While he struggled to make much of an impact in his extensive AHL exposure (he scored just four points in 30 games for Grand Rapids) this extension gives him another chance to compete for an AHL job or potentially return as a leading scorer for the Walleye.
- 24-year-old Nicholas Guay has earned a one-year contract extension from his club, the Trois-Rivieres Lions, after a solid first season in the ECHL. Guay is a former captain of two QMJHL teams and was a top scorer at the Major Junior level. He dipped his toes into the world of professional hockey in 2021-22 but had more success playing University hockey, scoring 25 points in 18 games. He potted 12 goals and 47 points for the Lions last season, tied for third-most on the team, and will now be able to return to their lineup and make a push for consideration for an AHL call-up/
- Former ECHL scorer Matthew Alfaro is off to Germany after his first campaign as a relatively regular AHLer. The 26-year-old Calgary Native played his way into the AHL relatively quickly after making a strong start to his pro career in 2020-21. He scored 41 points in 61 games for the Wheeling Nailers and the following season managed to skate in a total of 36 AHL games, notching 12 points. That combined with his point-per-game production with the Nailers earned him a more regular job in the AHL with the Abbotsford Canucks, though he only managed nine points in 37 games of combined regular-season and postseason action. Now, he’s off to play for the Ravensburg Townstars of the DEL2, one of the oldest clubs in German hockey.
- Vladislav Kodola, a middle-six center in the KHL, has signed a two-year contract with Dynamo Minsk after a recent trade landed him back in his home country. Once an import player for the OHL’s Sarnia Sting, Kodola developed into a quality professional player with Cherepovets Severstal in the KHL, eventually becoming one of the team’s top forwards. He scored a career-high 32 points in 54 games in 2020-21 and even earned the right to represent Belarus at the 2021 IIHF Men’s World Championships. He was traded to Dynamo Moscow last summer and his production declined, which likely contributed to Moscow dealing him to Minsk, where signed this two-year deal.
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