We’re now a week out from free agency and Nazem Kadri still hasn’t signed. NHL fans are patiently waiting on the decisions of several key free agents, though plenty of other moves are happening around the hockey world. As always at this time of year, we’ll keep track of all the notable minor moves right here.
- Former NHLer Nick Lapin will be playing overseas for the first time in his professional career. Lappin, who last played in the NHL in 2018-19 for the New Jersey Devils, signed a contract with Italian club HC Bolzano of the ICEHL. Lappin’s departure from North American hockey comes after the least productive season of his AHL career. The 29-year-old forward had just eight points in 38 games, and now heads to the ICEHL, a league with a lower overall talent level. In Bolzano, Lappin will be teammates with another former NHL-er, Matt Frattinand will look to help the Foxes improve on last season’s ninth-place finish that came without a playoff berth.
- Former NHLer Victor Bartley will have a new team after three seasons playing for the Kunlun Red Star of the KHL. Bartley, who has 121 NHL games on his resume and last played NHL hockey in 2015-16, will play for the Black Wings Linz of the ICEHL. Linz won just 11 of 49 games last season and have to hope that Bartley’s experience on their back end can help them have a better 2022-23.
- Kris Bennett, the captain of the ECHL’s Iowa Heartlanders, is heading to Switzerland. Per a team announcement, Bennett signed a contract with Swiss club HC Lugano, who have the option of sending Bennett to the second-division Ticino Rockets if they choose to. Bennett scored 35 goals and 73 points in 50 games for the Heartlanders last season and with this contract will have an opportunity to prove himself in one of Europe’s top leagues in 2022-23.
- Joseph Garriff, a former star for the OHL’s Ottawa 67’s, has decided to continue his career overseas. The dazzling forward once formed a lethal offensive trio with 2020 top-ten picks Marco Rossi and Jack Quinn, but hasn’t enjoyed the early success at the professional level that those two earned. Per an announcement from the club, Garreffa has signed a contract with Slovenian side HK SZ Olimpija, based in the Slovenian capital of Ljubljana. HK SZ Olimpija were a playoff team in 2021-22 and are hoping that Garreffa can help them return to the playoffs next season.
- The Vancouver Canucks’ AHL affiliate, the Abbotsford Canucks, announced today that they signed defenseman Chad Nychuk to a one-year AHL contract. Nychuk is a 21-year-old undrafted player who has spent the past four seasons manning the blueline for the Brandon Wheat Kings of the WHL. In his final season in Brandon, Nychuk had 71 points in 64 games, which ranked second on the team in points. This marks the beginning of Nychuk’s professional career and he will join Abbotsford with the hope of climbing the developmental ladder and earning an NHL contract with Vancouver.
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