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NHL Free Agency Update – July 20

By WBH, 07/20/22, 3:15PM CDT


Presented by Karen’s Print Rite

When NHL free agency opened last week, several former Waterloo Black Hawks were looking for new deals.  Some have signed, while others are still working on new contracts.  So far, renewals have been the trend.

Here is the latest as of July 20th:

Tom Novak – Nashville Predators

Last October, Novak made his NHL debut with Nashville, ultimately appearing in a total of 27 games.  His two-year agreement with the Predators expired this summer, but Novak has reached a new one-year arrangement to stay in the Music City.  Although he spent 2019/20 with the Milwaukee Admirals of the AHL before signing his first NHL contract in 2020, Novak was originally drafted by Nashville in 2015.

Rem Pitlick – Montreal Canadiens

The 2021/22 campaign included a couple of significant moves for Pitlick.  Waived by the Nashville Predators just before the season began, he landed with the Minnesota Wild.  The same process played out a couple of months later, at which point, he was off to Montreal.  With a new two-year deal in place, Pitlick can expect the coming year to be less eventful.

Zach Sanford – Nashville Predators

Like Pitlick, Sanford was shuffled between three different clubs from the time training camp began in September of 2022.  The St. Louis Blues traded him to the Ottawa Senators during the exhibition schedule.  Then it was on from there to the Winnipeg Jets at the trade deadline.  Unlike Pitlick, Sanford is headed to new scenery again.  His first appearance for Nashville will make the Predators the fifth different team Sanford has represented during his NHL career.

Nick Swaney – Minnesota Wild

Swaney’s second NHL contract is a one-year pact with Minnesota.  The Wild drafted him in 2017, and he was with the Iowa Wild as a pro hockey rookie last winter.  He hopes to become the fourth different former Black Hawk to skate in a regular season game for Minnesota; if he does, Swaney will join Justin Kloos as the second Waterloo player to make his NHL debut for the Wild.

Other Notes

Mikey Anderson has played in more NHL games (117) than any other former Waterloo skater currently on the market.  Anderson’s recently expired contract with the L.A. Kings was his entry-level agreement, making him a restricted free agent and giving the Kings the inside track to bring him back for 2022/23.

Goaltenders Cam Johnson (Columbus Blue Jackets) and Cale Morris (Chicago Blackhawks) played in the minors last season while signed to NHL agreements.  The league’s 32 teams used a total of 119 goalies in the regular season – an average of almost four per club – so goaltending depth might be of particular concern for NHL general managers this off season.

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