Even in the current political and economic conditions, good Americans and Canadians go to the middle-class KHL clubs. Andy Andreoff and Riley Barber, who signed for Sibir and Barys respectively, are the 11th and 12th-ranked scorers in the AHL last season. Despite the cut limit, even now there are some vacancies in the league that clubs can fill before the start of the season. We are noting the experienced NHL/AHL players who could fill these vacancies:
v. Alex Stalock
Statistics from the last season of the NHL: 27 matches, 9 wins, 90.8% OB, OT 3.01
Stalock, 36, is an NHL backup who has traveled to multiple clubs in this role, signing a contract worth more than $1 million a year just once in his career. The rest of the time, the goalkeeper played for the league minimum salary or even at the estate club. However, last season for Stalok was, if not a revelation, then a pleasant surprise: in Chicago, the goaltender kept the worst club in the league afloat and, with goaltending statistics plummeting across the league, showed some pretty decent numbers.
Photo: Rick Scuteri/AP/TASS
Unlike many Americans who have recently moved to the KHL, Stalok did not insult anyone’s wives and is considered an excellent teammate with the right character. Among his strengths is an excellent ability for a goalkeeper to play with the puck and even initiate an attack with an accurate football-style pass: little Alex started skating from the age of three. His comparatively modest size (180/77) largely prevented him from becoming a strong goaltender in the NHL, but in EuroLeague, goaltender size matters much less.
H. Adam Clendening
Stats last season AHL: 68 games, 33 (4+29) points, “-12”
In the spring of 2021, Clendening, who even played in the World Cup with the United States, was considered as a possible contender to replace Oliver Caskey at Avangard. Finn settled his contract disputes, returned to Balashikha to leave mid-season, but the American fullback stayed in America. A little earlier, he was offered to Dynamo Minsk; at least two years ago, the player was definitely not against moving to our league.
The quarterback, who has switched clubs in the league, most often played third base pair or top five in the AHL. There he acted as a “quarterback” who directed most and dispersed attacks, but does not have enough data to do this in the NHL. At the same time, Klendening is not a defensive black hole, he has good dimensions. Finally, he is right-handed, which is doubly advantageous for today’s market. The relatively weak statistics this season are due to the fact that the player spent most of the championship on the Chicago farm, from where most of the players went to the base.
h ryan merkley
Stats last season AHL: 58 games, 22 (2+20) points, “-16”
And here is the same kind of “American problem”. Merkley was selected in the first round of the 2018 draft, while for some teams he was absent from draft rosters: the character’s nuances were too obvious, often manifesting on the ice. Young Ryan received foul play disqualifications, dropped to reserve. He was described as irritable, not fully grown, but very talented.
Photo: Michael Ainsworth/AP/TASS
Merkley’s offensive talent remains undeniable even now, when he did not receive a qualifying offer in the NHL and, in principle, this may be enough for the European level. However, Merkley combines excellent skating and shooting with a less-than-high hockey IQ and an unwillingness or inability to play defense. Again, in Europe, with the right system, these problems can be hidden. In the most optimistic case, Merkley could become Jeremy Roy #2.
“My sticks are lost forever.” Interview with a KHL rookie who played for the Canadian national team
north. rocco grimaldi
Stats last season AHL: 70 games, 73 (33+40) points, “-8”
In the non-star World Cup, the American team stood out precisely as a team, thanks to the modern style of play, which combined youth, speed and an incredible amount of raw talent. Grimaldi, 30, was one of the few veterans of this team, but he showed that he feels very well on European soil, scoring 14 points and getting into the symbolic team of the World Cup.
“What a bunch of losers!” The pain of the Americans before the impotence of the selection in the Hockey World Cup
The fact that Grimaldi, with his height of 168, reached the NHL and spent two hundred matches there for not the worst teams already inspires respect. Like other NHL “boys”, Grimaldi is heavily knocked down (81 kg), while earning a place in the composition not only with technique, but also with the desire to plow through each part of the ice. For this, he was loved in Nashville, it was not just that in the spring he was sent to Magnitogorsk. Grimaldi seemed to be the ideal player for the type of hockey played by Andrey Razin, but unfortunately for the local fans, the rumors have yet to come true. Maybe they can come to an agreement?
north. ryan zingel
Stats last season AHL: 22 games, 11 (2+9) points, “-5”
The strong degradation of Dzingel in recent seasons is surprising. Five years ago, he scored 40 points in one season, he was part of a big Columbus buy that helped bring out Tampa sensationally, and it all seemed to fall apart after the covid seasons. The striker changed four clubs in two seasons, did not take root anywhere and spent the last year in the estate club. This is usually due to reasons unrelated to hockey or some kind of health issue (a post-covid complication, perhaps?)
Photo: Brian McWalters/Zuma/TASS
We remember Dzingel here because he already managed to compromise with Avangard instead of Korban Knight, whose wife allegedly categorically does not want to go to Russia. Confusingly, Dzingel, though listed as a center in most sources, has played on the wing for most of his league career. The player does not have much experience of playing in the minority and the elite game at the point, such as Knight. However, as a direct replacement, Dzingel looks a bit strange, but in the KHL as a whole, a hockey player can fit in, unless, of course, he again remembers his ability to throw well and accurately.
north. Danny O’Regan
Stats last season AHL: 66 games, 49 (17+32) points, “-21”
The former forward of the US youth team at one time arrived at the San Jose base, but as part of the Evander Kane trade he left for Buffalo, after which he spent only eight NHL games in all this time. . The reason for this, again, may be modest dimensions: 178/82 isn’t as much for a fourth-tier fighter as O’Regan projected at the time of his trade.
O’Regan is a central defender with good defensive skills, who stands out as a good shooter, a good midfielder and a hard-working player in general. He has a wealth of experience playing in the NCAA, where he dated Jack Eichel on a line. In the NHL, apparently, it was not possible to gain ground again due to the dimensions: one of the scouts’ reports even called it “depressingly small”. However, this striker can always choose Germany: he was born in Berlin, when his father, who played for the USA in the World Cup, was also playing for a German club.