Casey Bailey has certainly had a whirlwind start to the 2019-20 season. The former Penn State standout joined the Washington Capitals in training camp and later their farm team, the Hershey Bears, but failed to land a contract with either club. He signed with the ECHL’s South Carolina Stingrays in October and was loaned to the AHL’s Charlotte Checkers earlier this month. After performing well with both teams, it seems Bailey was able to parlay his success into another contract. The Vaxjo Lakers of the SHL have announced that they have signed Bailey to a contract for the remainder of the season. While this is Bailey’s first foray into Swedish hockey, it marks a return to Europe for the 28-year-old, who spent last year with the KHL’s Slovan Bratislava. A two-way right wing with NHL experience, Bailey has never reached the potential he flashed while a member of the Nittany Lions, but brings size, speed, and a track record of strong numbers in the AHL to Vaxjo. Bailey could emerge as a top contributor for the Lakers, who count talented but inexperienced NHL prospects Emil Pettersson (ARI), Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson (BOS), and Marcus Davidsson (BUF) among their best players.
- Eemeli Rasanen is making an unexpected trip to Denmark for the next month. In a move rarely seen, especially with NHL prospects, the KHL’s Jokerit has loaned Rasanen to the Frederikshavn White Hawks of Norway’s Metal Ligaen, the team announced. It is quite the demotion for the 20-year-old defenseman, a 2017 second-round pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs who spent a brief stint in the AHL last year. Fortunately, it is just for a month, as the loan agreement expires after Christmas. Jokerit undoubtedly will make some money off of this deal, but also likely hopes that it jumpstarts Rasanen. The big blue liner has split his season to this point between the KHL and minor league Mestis, failing to make much of an impact at either level. He will have a major advantage over the competition in Denmark though, where he hopes to re-discover his game.
- Former NHL keeper Jonas Hiller is currently playing the final season of a long, successful career. Or is he? The starting goalie for the NLA’s EHC Biel-Bienne is dominating the Swiss ranks at the ripe old age of 37, calling into question whether he is really done. Hiller holds a .933 save percentage and 2.03 GAA through 19 games, the best numbers of his career at any pro level. He leads the NLA in both categories as well. Nicola Berger of NZZ Sport writes that Biel-Bienne is trying to convince Hiller not to retire while he is still at the top of his game. The team does not want to suffer a major drop-off in performance in net, so much so that Berger indicates that they could try to poach New Jersey Devils goaltender Cory Schneider if Hiller follows through on his departure. While Hiller has entertained the idea of continuing to play when approached by the media, Berger writes that he would be happy to go out on top, not wanting poor play to instead force his hand. While Hiller’s days in the NHL are undoubtedly over, his continued dominance in Switzerland at his age remains an entertaining story to follow.