Jordan Schmaltz #7 of the USA Blue Squad skates against Team Finland at the USA hockey junior evaluation camp at the Lake Placid Olympic Center on August 6, 2012 in Lake Placid, New York. Team USA defeated Finland 5-4. Aug. 5, 2012 – Source: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America
Now that most major, minor and junior seasons all over NHL teams can now hand out entry-level contracts to the upcoming rookies that remain unsigned. Over the past week, there have been teams that have taken part in the signing of their own draft picks, as well as undrafted free agents.
New Jersey Devils sign 3rd round pick Ryan Kujawinski
The Devils drafted Ryan Kujawinski in 2013 with the 73rd overall selection. He has played in the OHL for 4 years and has played on 3 different teams, starting with the Sarnia Sting, then the Kingston Frontenacs and ending with the North Bay Battalion. Kujawinski started as big center who played physically and used his body. As he moved along in the OHL he developed a good shot and has gotten very good in the face-off circle. There is still much work to do before he can be an effective NHL player, but he will most likely spend next year with the Albany Devils which will bode well for his offensive development. The talent level when it comes to the defense is much more advanced than the OHL.
The New Jersey Devils website stated that “as per club policy, no further terms were disclosed.”
Philadelphia Flyers Sign Radel Fazleev to ELC
Flyers 6th round pick Radel Fazleev was signed to an entry-level contract on Thursday. The #168th overall pick has spent the past 2 years playing for the Calgary Hitmen in the WHL. Future Considerations describes Fazleev as a surprisingly good offensive prospect.
"“A creative playmaker with some raw but impressive tools. His skating while effective at the junior level could use some improvements. He battles along the wall and finishes his hits. His shot is strong and he has good touch around the net. His game is pretty inconsistent from shift-to-shift at this time.”"
All in all, Fazleev isn’t a prospect to keep an eye on in case he takes the league over by storm. He could potentially have some decent year in the AHL, but he most likely will not have an impact in the NHL.
Jordan Schmaltz Will Be Joining The Blues Organization
The Blues announced Thursday that the team signed defenseman Jordan Schmaltz to an entry-level contract. Schmaltz will be skipping his senior season at the University of North Dakota to join the Blues. You can add Schmaltz to the list of personnel leaving the Sioux next season. Coach Dave Hakstol and goalie Zane McIntyre are also not returning to UND and will be going to the NHL. According to the Associated Press, “Schmaltz is the 4th member of last year’s team to sign a pro contract.”
Schmaltz is a former 1st round pick. Drafted with the 25th overall pick, Schmaltz was one of the best puck-moving defenseman in the NCAA last season.
Schmaltz told the Grand Forks Herald Thursday about what he thinks about the organization’s decision to bring him closer to the NHL.
"“It’s exciting to take the next step in my playing career… I’m excited to get things going. But at the same time, it’s really tough to leave a place where I’ve developed some of my best friendships and a place you feel so connected to. There’s nothing better than playing in The Ralph. It’s tough leaving, especially all of my buddies, but I’m pretty focused and ready for the next step.”"
Bruins Sign Anton Blidh
20 year old Anton Blidh was signed to an entry-level contract on Friday. The 2013 6th rounder plays an aggressive game to say the least. He is all defense and isn’t afraid of other opponents. Blidh Has been playing i Sweden for the past couple of years and is looking to make a successful move to the professional league.
General Manager spoke about Blidh in January, and had this to say about him…
"He has begun to fill out, and his strenght on the ice in battle situations [is] very evident."