Sometimes a year away from the NHL is all it takes to get back.
That’s what forwards Leo Komarov and Peter Mueller are hoping. ESPN.com’s Craig Custance reports both players are looking to come back to the world’s best hockey league after each spent this season in Europe.
Komarov (pictured) spent this past season with Moscow Dynamo in the KHL. He also played in the Olympics and World Championships for Finland. He had been with the Toronto Maple Leafs previously and had a solid season there, but couldn’t work out a new deal to stick around.
With Moscow, Komarov had 12 goals and 34 points in 52 games. At 27 years old he’ll make an effective third or fourth line player that can agitate anyone and have some skill to boot.
Mueller’s year in Europe was spent in the Swiss National League and playing for Team USA at World Championships. He scored 24 goals for Kloten tying him for the league lead and had 46 points in 49 games. That point total was good for third in the league.
His departure from the NHL was a bit of a surprise, but after a tough season with the Florida Panthers he had to show he still could rack up points. Mission accomplished. Now he’ll hope a team has a need for a depth skill player.
For the second time in his career, Ryan Kesler is wearing an “A.”
On Thursday, the Anaheim Ducks announced that Kesler would serve as one of the club’s alternate captains this season, taking over for Francois Beauchemin, who signed in Colorado this summer.
With the move, Kesler joins Anaheim’s existing leadership group of captain Ryan Getzlaf, and alternate Corey Perry.
“It’s an honor,” Kesler said, per the Ducks. “It’s special. I’m going to wear it with pride and lead by example.”
As mentioned earlier, Kesler has some experience as an alternate — he wore an “A” in Vancouver from 2008-13, but had it removed prior to the start of the ’13-14 campaign.
It’s not surprising Anaheim went in this direction. GM Bob Murray made a huge investment in Kesler this summer by inking the 31-year-old to a six-year, $41.25M extension.
Could Raphael Diaz be on his way back to Switzerland?
We’ll know in a month.
Diaz, who lost out on the Rangers’ final blueline spot in training camp, has reported to the club’s AHL affiliate in Hartford but doesn’t seem pleased with his current situation, per the Post:
The 29-year-old Diaz, who cleared waivers last Saturday after the Blueshirts opted to keep rookie Dylan McIlrath as the club’s seventh on the blue line, is interested in the European option if he is not in the NHL.
The Blueshirts have told Diaz they will revisit the situation at the end of October, but have not promised to release him or assign him to a European team at that point.
If Diaz, a Swiss native who represented Switzerland in the 2014 Olympics, does play in Europe during the season, he would have to go through waivers in order to return to the NHL.
Diaz’s agent, Ritch Winter, told the Post that Diaz signed a one-year, $700,000 deal with the Rangers “to play with the Rangers.”
And it’s understandable if Diaz — a journeyman offensive defenseman — isn’t happy with this situation.
While some believe McIlrath earned his roster spot on merit, some think it’s because of his contract status. McIlrath, who’s only 23 and a former first-round pick, would’ve needed to clear waivers to go back to Hartford, and it’s believed he would’ve been claimed by another club.