This is one of the most exciting times of the year. For NHL hockey fans, the NHL free agent signing period is kind of like a second holiday season. Your favorite NHL team either ends up with a bunch of nice gifts under the tree or they end up with a big lump of coal in their stockings.
Looking at the recent transactions, here are three ex-University of North Dakota hockey players with new homes for the 2017-18 season.
Former Fighting Sioux forward Brad Malone (2007-11) will join Drake Caggiula and Dillon Simpson (hopefully) in Edmonton. Simpson is a RFA and is looking for a new contract. Last season, Simpson played in three games with the Oilers but didn’t record a point.
For those that are wondering. Former Fighting Sioux forward Chris VandeVelde played with the Flyers last season and is an unsigned UFA looking for a new contract. It will be interesting to see if the Flyers re-sign Vandy.
Last season, VandeVelde played in all 81 games for the Flyers scoring (6g-9a—15pts), he was also a minus-five. In 278 NHL games, VandeVelde has scored (18g-30a—49pts), he’s also a minus-28.
Former Fighting Sioux forward Danny Kristo (2009-13) is headed to Dinamo Riga of the Kontinental Hockey League.
Kristo has yet to play a game in the NHL, he was drafted by the Montreal Canadiens in the second round (56th overall) of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. Kristo is one of eight players taken in the second round of the 2008 draft that has yet to make their NHL debut.
In 271 American Hockey League games, Kristo has scored (82g-81a—163pts), he’s also a plus-five.
Kristo also represented the team of the University of South Dakota where he played incomplete four seasons, and then joined the AHL team Hamilton Bulldogs. Seasons 2013/2014 and 2014/2015 were spent in another AHL team – Hartford Wolf Pack and season 2015/2016 started for Kristo already in Chicago Wolves where he stayed until the beginning of last season.
Apparently, some in the KHL don’t know the difference between the University of South Dakota and North Dakota.