Frenzy: Monday/Tuesday/whateverday notes

This Weird Year rolls on. (Oh, yeah, hey, long time, no talk. I know, mostly my fault. But you could click some stories or something, too. #pageviews) We have reached the point in the calendar where we’re usually getting excited for a few off-ice things. We’d have just gone through the draft. (Instead, CHAOS.) And we’d be looking forward to free agency on Wednesday.

Well, good news: Free agency is here. AHL contracts still expire on Tuesday. Let’s get a set up in Springfield, Sportsnet. Let the frenzy begin.

Probably about time I did this, then, yeah? In a weird year, let’s do it weirdly: One team. They’re all Islanders. (Even if NHL contracts will expire at some point in the fall.)

As of 5/28 (Jenkins), 32 NHL contracts for 2020-21 (2 G, 8 D, 22 F) (including unsigned RFAs, 42 (3 G, 15 D, 24 F)), including Holmstrom who doesn’t count if sent out before playing 10 NHL games.
(Numbers in parentheses for signed players are years remaining on the contract and include 2020-21; those without numbers are signed only through next season. All signed players are NHL deals except AHL deals in italics. Lots of help, as you can surely expect, from the lamented CapGeek (RIP, Matthew Wuest), and other sources. Corrections welcomed.)
SIGNED: Jakub Skarek (3), Semyon Varlamov (3), Samuel Bolduc (3), Johnny Boychuk (2), Adam Brubacher, Noah Dobson (2), Thomas Hickey (V) (2), Nick Leddy (2), Scott Mayfield (3), Adam Pelech, Bode Wilde (3), Josh Bailey (4), Cole Bardreau (V-320), Anthony Beauvillier, Kieffer Bellows, Felix Bibeau, Bobo Carpenter, Casey Cizikas, Cal Clutterbuck (2), Cole Coskey, Michael Dal Colle, Arnaud Durandeau (2), Jordan Eberle (4), Tanner Fritz, Simon Holmstrom (3/2), Blade Jenkins (3), Mason Jobst, Ross Johnston (2), Otto Koivula, Leo Komarov (2), Andrew Ladd (V) (3), Anders Lee (6), Brock Nelson (5), Jean-Gabriel Pageau (6), Yanick Turcotte, Oliver Wahlstrom (3/2)
GROUP 2: Linus Soderstrom, Sebastian Aho, Kyle Burroughs, Grant Hutton, Ryan Pulock, Devon Toews, Mitch Vande Sompel, Parker Wotherspoon, Mathew Barzal, Josh Ho-Sang
GROUP 3: Jared Coreau, Christopher Gibson, Thomas Greiss, Andy Greene, Seth Helgeson (V), Derick Brassard, Thomas Kuhnhackl (V), Matt Martin, Travis St. Denis
GROUP 6: Jordan Schmaltz (V)
AHL: Evan Buitenhuis, Mike Cornell, Ryan MacKinnon, Steve Bernier (V), Terry Broadhurst (V), Erik Brown, J.D. Dudek, Jeff Kubiak, Cedric Lacroix, Kyle MacLean, Colin McDonald (V), Nic Pierog, Tanner Pond, Dylan Sadowy, Nick Schilkey, Ben Thomson (V)

Group 2 players are restricted free agents if given a qualifying offer by 5 p.m. on the later of June 25 or the Monday after the entry draft (ahem) a date to be announced (ahem) Oct. 6, per the MOU, OR four days after a team’s last game, if they’re playing past Oct. 2. The other free agents are all unrestricted. I’ve got him listed as probable, but it would take something really weird for Jordan Schmaltz NOT to be an unrestricted free agent. In a normal year, he still would need to play 38 more NHL games for the Islanders to keep his rights one more year. There are no more than 33 to be played. Even if they pro-rate this season based on the Islanders’ playing 68 out of 82 (which is a complete spitball on my part based on what they did for the lockout years; I wouldn’t bet on it), I think he’d still need to play 34 more games, and again, 33. Looks like 36, actually. Group 6.

For players that spent significant time here: (V) indicates he’ll be a veteran next year by AHL rule. (V-320) means he’ll be a veteran but will qualify as that one exempt player a night with 320 or fewer pro games. Note that Kyle Burroughs has played enough to be a veteran, but the rule has been tweaked in the new AHL CBA: A player who hasn’t turned 25 by the July 1 before the season starts will not be a veteran, and Burroughs is still about two weeks away from his 25th birthday. Travis St. Denis falls two games short.


We say that as if there’ll be a playoffs and a next season. Who knows? The AHL established a return-to-play task force. The Islanders were supposed to be playing at the Coliseum full-time come the fall; for the moment, the Coliseum is shut (which is really only one step shutter than most other arenas at this point).

Whipping around:

Newtown’s Melissa Samoskevich has signed with the NWHL’s Connecticut Whale.

Isles draft pick Ruslan Iskhakov left UConn to play in Europe. Thomas Hickey is the Islanders’ Masterton nominee. Ben Holmstrom to Norway.

Los Angeles parted ways with Mike Stothers in Ontario. Buffalo fired all but like three people, and Chris Taylor wasn’t spared. And omg you know what that means

TEAM Old New
ONT Mike Stothers (5/29)   
ROC Chris Taylor (6/16)   

Want to know how long it has been since I posted? We just missed the AHL MVP announcement. It was Gerry Mayhew, who did not usurp Colin McDonald’s claim to fame.

Tuesday is Dave Andrews’ last official day as President and CEO of the AHL. We thought there’d be time to write about his tenure; Weird Year. Said a lot of it last year, at least. USA Hockey gave him its Distinguished Achievement Award.

Former pro Brandon Bochenski is the new mayor of Grand Forks, N.D. I voted for Zach Parise. #LongRunningGags

A few locals went in various QMJHL drafts, including Charlie Zolin of Greenwich.

Otto bein’ Otto.

Otto further bein’ Otto. (Congrats.)

Onetime Sound Tiger Parker Milner has retired. Check out his next chapter.

Fun talk between distant cousin (seriously) Jake Baskin and our ol’ bud Phil Giubileo. I’ll need you to mute it for like 20 seconds in the middle, right after he mentions This Space Right Here.


The World has changed a bit since last we talked. One hopeful force for change: the Hockey Diversity Alliance.

Been helping compile this coronavirus memorial for our several dailies. Sometimes somber, but often weirdly uplifting. A lot of these folks lived some lives. Hopefully we keep the numbers on the right trend around here.

Speaking of, RIP, Ron Frangipane, Wes Unseld, Mary Pat Gleason Lee Grosscup, Ian Holm, Joe Bugel, Jim Guercia, Bonnie Pointer, Kurt Thomas, Claudell Washington, Joel Schumacher, Lonnie Wheeler, Vera Lynn and Jean Kennedy Smith.

And these hit really close to home, two guys I have known just about as long as I’ve been working here (Brian, I met literally in my fifth assignment for the Post): RIP, George Burr and Brian Dinneen.

Will try not to wait a month this time. No promises.

Michael Fornabaio