A promising season for the Ontario Reign is over, and it brought raw emotion from someone who has won the Calder Cup and wanted another one.
After finishing third overall in the American Hockey League with a 41-18-5-4 record (.669) and sweeping the San Diego Gulls in first round, Ontario found the Colorado Eagles to be too much of an obstacle in the teams’ Pacific Division semifinal series. Colorado completed a three-game sweep Sunday night in Ontario with a 5-2 win and will take on the Stockton Heat in the Pacific Division Finals.
“We wish the playoffs [had been] longer,” said star forward Martin Frk to the LA Kings Insider. Frk, a Calder Cup champion with the Grand Rapids Griffins in 2017, finished sixth in regular-season scoring in the AHL, posting 73 points (40 goals, 33 assists) in just 58 games.
“That’s why you play,” Frk continued. “You play for the playoffs, [to] win the championship. But not everyone can win it, and [the Eagles] were just better. I don’t even know what to say. It’s hard to find any words.”
Milwaukee Admirals goaltender Iaroslav Askarov is now under contract to the parent Nashville Predators.
On Monday the Predators signed the 19-year-old Askarov, the 11th pick in the 2020 NHL Draft, to a three-year entry-level contract that activates next season.
Askarov signed a professional tryout deal with Milwaukee on May 3 following his season in Russia playing in the Kontinental Hockey League (SKA St. Petersburg) and the second-division Vysshaya Hockey League (VHL) with SKA-Neva St. Petersburg. He also played with Russia at the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship.
Iowa Wild fans could see an NHL first-round pick in net next season as well as the team bids to return to the Calder Cup Playoffs after missing out this season.
Goaltender Jesper Wallstedt signed his three-year entry-level contract with the Minnesota Wild on Monday. Minnesota selected Wallstedt 20th overall in the 2021 NHL Draft.
This season, the 19-year-old Wallstedt led the Swedish Hockey League with a 1.98 GAA in 22 games with Lulea. He was also selected to represent Sweden at the World Junior Championship, where he was 2-0-0 with a 1.50 GAA and .962 save percentage, including a 48-save shutout against Slovakia.
Wallstedt’s signing adds another young goaltender to the Minnesota prospect pipeline. This season Iowa relied heavily on veteran Zane McIntyre down the stretch, while also using prospects Dereck Baribeau (15 games) and Hunter Jones (nine games) in net.
― Patrick Williams