(Updated) NHL Free Agency: UND Connections

Today at noon Eastern, the NHL kicked off their free agency. The action was fast and furious. For me, the focus will be on the former University of North Dakota hockey players that are currently NHL free agents. There are quite a few that will be looking for new homes.

Drake Caggiula

First, the Buffalo Sabres like the Drake. The former UND forward, Drake Caggiula, who was an unrestricted free agent, remained a member of the Buffalo Sabres. Caggiula re-signed a one-year deal worth $750,000.

Over the course of five NHL seasons, Caggiula has played in 260 NHL games scoring (44g-42a—86pts). He’s also a minus-24. Caggiula has also played in 21 Stanley Cup Playoff games scoring (4g-2a—6pts).

Tucker Poolman

As of today, the Winnipeg Jets lost two former UND hockey players. Tucker Poolman signed a four-year deal worth $10 million. That’s an average salary of $2.5 million a year.

In three seasons with the Jets, Poolman scored (5g-14a—19pts). He was also a minus-one. Poolman will join former UND teammate forward Brock Boeser in Vancouver.

Derek Forbort

Another Jet is gone. Former UND defenseman Derek Forbort has signed with the Boston Bruins. Forbort’s deal is worth $3 million a year for three years. In 331 NHL games, Forbort has scored (8g-57a—65pts), he’s also a plus-eight. Last season, in 56 games with the Jets, Forbort scored (2g-10a—12pts).

Luke Johnson

Subtract two and add another.  Former Grand Forks native and UND hockey player Luke Johnson has signed a one-year, two-way deal with the Winnipeg Jets. If he plays the entire season in the NHL, he will make $750,000. Johnson has played in 31 NHL games scoring (1g-1a–2pts).

As I had mentioned in an earlier post, I like the Winnipeg Jets. Last season, their roster had a nice mix of American players with college hockey backgrounds. Many of these players played big roles with the Jets. Even with Poolman and Forbort leaving, the Jets still have a nice core of American players.

Aaron Dell

Former UND goalie Aaron Dell has signed with the Buffalo Sabres. Dell’s contract is a one-year deal that will pay him $750,000. Dell’s Salary will pay him $350,000 if he spends the season in the minors. In seven seasons, Dell has played in 114 NHL games, with two teams. He has a (49-39-12, a 2.83 GAA, and a .906 save percentage).

Austin Poganski

Another former UND hockey player has taken his skills elsewhere. Former UND and St. Louis Blues forward Austin Poganski has signed a one-year deal with the Winnipeg Jets. Throughout three seasons, Poganski has played in six NHL games and has yet to record a point.

Poganski, who was an RFA, signed a one-year, two-way deal worth $750,000. Poganski has spent most of his career with the San Antonio Rampage of the AHL scoring (30g-43a—63 pts) in 119 games.

From Dave Minuk of the Illegal Curve: It’s official.  The Jets are in Friendly Manitoba but the organization is officially Minnesota Nice as they added another player from the state southeast of here with the addition of Austin Poganski from St. Cloud, Minnesota. The right shooting winger was drafted in the 4th round by the Blues in 2014 and has spent most of his time as a pro the last couple of seasons with the AHL franchise of St. Louis in San Antonio.

Will Poganski find a way to make the Jets opening day lineup? Or, will he spend the majority of his time playing with the Manitoba Moose?