The AHL (at least most of its teams) has now joined the NHL in a new season, but there are still plenty of moves being made in the minors as teams solidify their lineups for the new campaign. Of course, many of those who were not successful in securing a contract in the NHL or AHL continue to find work overseas, while other are returning to juniors. Keep up with all of the minor moves made today right here:
- A pair of veterans have been successful with AHL tryouts in Pennsylvania. Tim Schaller has earned a spot with the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins, per a league release, while Chris Mueller will be back in the AHL for a 13th consecutive season as the Lehigh Valley Phantoms announced a one-year deal. Schaller, 30, had been an NHL regular for several years before last season, when his lack of production for the Vancouver Canucks finally caught up with him and he was traded to the Los Angeles Kings and subsequently demoted. Schaller has been an effective fourth liner in the past and will look to earn his way back to the NHL with a strong season in the minors. Mueller, 34, is likely beyond an NHL comeback at this point, having not played in the league since 2014-15, but the decorated AHLer is only a couple seasons away from cracking the league’s top 20 in all-time games played.
- An intriguing prospect has signed on with the AHL’s Toronto Marlies. Pavel Gogolev, fresh off of a 96-point season in the OHL last year, has returned to Ontario to join the Marlies, according to the AHL’s transactions log. He had been playing with Vasby IK of Sweden’s Allsvenskan to begin the year, but the club confirms that his contract has been terminated. Gogolev, 20, was passed over yet again in the most recent NHL Draft despite finishing sixth overall in OHL scoring last season. Perhaps this was due to his advanced age relative to other draft-eligible prospects or the lack of development in his defensive ability, but there is no doubting that Gogolev has impressive offensive skill and has shown repeatedly that he is committed to North American hockey and pursuing an NHL career. He will take another step closer to that goal this season with AHL Toronto.
- Blake Pietila is looking to stick around the North American game and has signed a PTO with the Hershey Bears, the team announced. The former New Jersey Devils prospect signed with the Anaheim Ducks for the 2019-20 season, but played exclusively in the AHL despite having set a new career high in NHL appearances the season prior. The hard-working forward is looking for another opportunity to show he can still be an NHL asset and hopes to not only crack the Hershey roster, but carve out a top role as well. Pietila has recorded 142 points in 266 career AHL games, proving himself to be an impact player in the minors.
- Despite appearing in training camp for the San Jose Barracuda, Sharks prospect Vladislav Kotkov will wait another season to turn pro. The Sharks have reassigned Kotkov to the QMHL’s Saint John Sea Dogs for one final junior campaign, the team announced. The Sea Dogs are certainly happy about the decision; Kotkov was acquired this summer for a pair of draft picks which would have been squandered if he had never suited up for the team. The overage import forward is a big, powerful offensive presence who is sure to make a major impact for Saint John before inevitably doing so for the Barracuda and possibly the Sharks down the road as well.
- Former NHL journeyman Andrew Ebbett made a career as a hired gun, playing for six different teams over eight seasons but still managing to suit up for 32 games each year on average. However, when his luck in North America ran out in 2015, he made the unlikely discovery of the first long-term home of his career with SC Bern of the Swiss NLA. Ebbett has spent the last five seasons with Bern, the past four of which as a captain and a top-five scoring forward. However, it is time for Ebbett to move on yet again. At 38, he is not ready to call it a career just yet, but has said goodbye to Bern and signed with EHC Munich of the German DEL. Having recently lost other names familiar to NHL fans in Derek Roy and Kalle Kossila, the Red Bulls were excited to land the veteran Ebbett as a replacement for the remainder of the year.