Minor Transactions: 01/21/23
After last night’s bright program, today was and is full of NHL games. Highlights include a classic Saturday night rivalry match between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens, a Metropolitan Division showdown between the New York Islanders and the Carolina Hurricanes, and a 2018 Stanley Cup Finals rematch between the Vegas Golden Knights and the Washington Capitals. As fans across the hockey world immerse themselves in the plethora of games played tonight, teams in foreign and smaller leagues fine-tune their rosters. We will follow these movements here.
Reid Duke, the very first Vegas Golden Knight, has moved to the Slovakian capital. HC Slovan Bratislava have signed the 26-year-old Duke after spending 16 games at Slovakian rivals HK Nitra. It was Duke’s first professional season in Europe, having spent the previous half decade as a minor league player in the Golden Knights organization. The ripple effect of today’s news that Cole Caufield will be absent for the remainder of the season has spread to all three levels of the Montreal Canadiens organization. Laval Rocket star Alex Belzile has been named to the NHL roster, and his place in the AHL is taken by forward Ryan Francis. Francis, 21, was a fifth-round pick by the Calgary Flames in the 2020 draft. He played for the Saint John’s Sea Dogs in the QMJHL last season and won the Memorial Cup. He had a solid pro debut this year, recording 21 points in 31 ECHL games. Now he’s moving to Laval to impress at the AHL level. With the news yesterday that goaltender Daniil Tarasov was returning from injury, the AHL’s Cleveland Monsters sent their potential goaltender Pavel Cajan to their ECHL affiliate, the Kalamazoo Wings. Cajan, 20, is an undrafted prospect who is in his first season as a pro. In the AHL, he’s struggled so far with an .879 save on a talent-starved Cleveland team, though he’s fared better in the ECHL with a 3-0 record and a .964 save. Netminder Joe Murdaca has now landed on his fourth ECHL roster of the month. The 24-year-old former QMJHL goalie has been signed by the Atlanta Gladiators. Gladiators goalie Tyler Parks was called up to the AHL yesterday, so the team needed a goalie, hence Murdaca’s signing. A champion in both the OHL and QMJHL, Murdaca has an .897 save percentage in 26 ECHL career games. Two players, Neil Robinson and Brennan Blaszczak, who were due to be sacked by their ECHL clubs yesterday, have been stripped of waivers. Robinson, 27, is moving to the Jacksonville Icemen, his third team of the season, while Blaszczak, 26, has been claimed by the Tulsa Oilers.
This page will be updated with any new notable moves.