Today was the first day of NHL free agency and a number of former Minutemen have new homes tonight. Perhaps the highlight of the day is the two-way deal that Conor Sheary signed with the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Penguins rewarded him for a strong rookie season in the AHL where he led the Wilkes-Barre Penguins in points for both the regular season and the playoffs. His contract this past season was a strictly minor league deal with Wilkes-Barre so the signing with the big club is a significant milestone for Sheary.
Highland Park Hockey has a story on Sheary and how he earned his entry level contract.
In other signing news Joel Hanley is now a Canadien after signing a two-way deal with Montreal and Mike Kostka signed a two-way contract with Ottawa.
Conor Allen and Matt Irwin are both unrestricted free agents who are expected to sign on with NHL clubs soon.
Meanwhile, Oleg Yevenko signed a deal with the Lake Erie Otters, AHL club for the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Of course the big news today around Hockey East was Terrier Jack Eichel signing with the Sabres. Considering he torched UMass with four goals and four assists in two games against the Minutemen last season I don’t think too many people in Amherst will be sorry to see him go.
In addition to free agent season in the NHL, it’s also development camp season. Soon to be sophomore Dennis Kravchenko, a Southern California native, has landed a spot at the Anaheim Ducks’ camp. He’ll be joined there by former Minuteman Brandon Montour. Ben Gallacher is currently down at the Florida Panthers camp, as the team owns his draft rights. William Lagesson (Edmonton), Ivan Chukarov (Buffalo), and Jake Massie (Carolina) are all expected to attend the camps for their teams.
Jake Massie joined radio station TSN690 in his native Montreal yesterday to talk about his recent selection by the Hurricanes in the NHL draft. Here is the audio of the interview.
The V.I. Sports TV show recently did a must watch profile on incoming goaltender Nic Renyard, detailing how he went from cut in the BCHL to MVP in all of Canada Junior A hockey in the matter of months. The segment starts at the 10:00 mark:
Congratulations to the nine Minutemen who were named to the Hockey East All-Academic team today.
The Atlantic Hockey composite schedule is showing UMass taking on AIC at the MassMutual Center in Springfield on Tuesday, February 9th next season. I haven’t been able to confirm that date yet, though it was rumored that the schools were trying to put together a game down there. So until I can confirm I’ve slotted the game in the “rumored” category on the 2015-16 Schedule Page. Also new on the page are dates for the games against New Hampshire.