With NHL free agency now underway, dozens of lower-level players are also trying to find work. Many of them will end up overseas or sign minor league deals. This is where we’ll keep track of notable signings around the world.
- The Laval Rocket of the AHL announced today that they have agreed to a one-way, one-year contract in the AHL with forward Gabriel Bourque. Bourque, 31, has 413 games of NHL experience and spent last season with the Rocket. In 67 games in Laval, Bourque had 11 goals and 28 points. Bourque has been the team’s most important forward on the penalty kill and should help the Rocket have another strong season.
- The rocket too announced two more contracts today: one-year bilateral agreements (AHL/ECHL) with goaltenders Philippe Desrosiers and Joe Vrbetic. Desrosiers, 26, was the number one goaltender for the Montreal Canadiens’ new ECHL affiliate, the Trois-Rivières Lions. Desrosiers went 19-13-1 with a .902 save percentage and a 3.09 goals-against average, helping the Lions qualify for the playoffs in their first season. Desrosiers, a second-round pick of the Dallas Stars in the 2013 draft, will likely get a similar role in the ECHL next season. Vrbetic, who turns 20 in October, was a seventh-rounder for the Canadiens in the 2021 draft. He was the starting goaltender for one of the OHL’s top teams, the North Bay Battalion, and posted a record of 29-10-6 with a .906 save percentage.
- After dramatically Avoiding relegation to Swedish third-tier league HockeyEttan, Sodertalje SK are looking to cement their place in HockeyAllsvenskan. They took a step in that direction today, signature former Erie Otters star Antoine Luciani. Luciani spent 2021-22 as Orli Znojmo’s top scorer in the Austrian Hockey League Erste Bank, where he collected 51 points in 48 games.
- Former NHL player Taylor Beck, who last played in the NHL with the New York Rangers in 2016-17, signed a one-year contract with the KHL’s HC Sibir Novosibirsk. Sibir was a playoff-caliber team in 2021-22 and should be bolstered by the addition of Beck, who had 38 points in 42 games last season for Dynamo Minsk.
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