AHL notebook: College players joining league after signing with NHL teams


The annual migration of top young talent to the American Hockey League continues.

The NCAA season is finished, ending this past Saturday with Denver University defeating Boston College in the national championship game. College players continue to sign with NHL organizations. In addition, players with Canadian Hockey League teams are eligible to play in the AHL after their junior seasons have concluded. The AHL regular season ends Sunday, and the Calder Cup Playoffs begin next week.

Two weeks ago NHL.com provided a look at players who joined AHL teams earlier. Here is a look at the next wave of prospects.

Dylan Duke, Syracuse (Tampa Bay Lightning)

The Lightning added an important young forward to the organization by signing Duke, 21, to a three-year entry-level contract April 15. The contract begins next season, and Duke will finish this season on an amateur tryout agreement with Syracuse.

Duke, who was selected by the Lightning in the fourth round (No. 126) of the 2021 NHL Draft, played three seasons at the University of Michigan. He had 49 points (26 goals, 23 assists) in 41 games to help Michigan reach the Frozen Four. He was named a member of the All-Big Ten Second Team. At the 2023 World Junior Championship, he had four points (one goal, three assists) in seven games as the United States won a bronze medal.

Syracuse has already clinched a playoff berth and is in the running to finish first in the North Division.

Sam Lipkin, Tucson (Arizona Coyotes)

The 21-year-old, who was chosen in the seventh round (No. 223) of the 2021 draft, blossomed at Quinnipiac University.

The forward signed a three-year entry-level contract with the Coyotes on April 4 and reported to Tucson, where he has one assist in four games. Tucson has clinched a playoff berth in the Calder Cup Playoffs.

Lipkin had 35 points (15 goals, 20 assists) in 39 games and also had 11 multipoint games in his second NCAA season. Last season he was named the ECAC Rookie of the Year after he had 43 points (14 goals, 29 assists) in 39 games. He had an assist on the overtime goal in the Frozen Four championship game as Quinnipiac won its first NCAA title.

Before going to Quinnipiac, he played three seasons in the United States Hockey League with Chicago and was a teammate of Coyotes forward Josh Doan.

Martin Misiak, Rockford (Chicago Blackhawks)

The 19-year-old adapted well in his first season in the Ontario Hockey League with Erie.

Selected by Chicago in the second round (No. 55) of the 2023 NHL Draft, he had 47 points (23 goals, 24 assists) in 60 games with Erie. He also had two points (one goal, one assist) in four playoff games. He represented Slovakia at the IIHF World Junior Championship this year and had three assists in five games.

The Blackhawks have assigned Misiak to Rockford on an amateur tryout agreement. The team has already clinched a playoff berth.

Jani Nyman, Coachella Valley (Seattle Kraken)

As Seattle continues to build up its prospect pool, Nyman is a key part of that growing group.

Selected by the Kraken in the second round (No. 49) of the 2022 NHL Draft, the 19-year-old forward signed a three-year entry-level contract with Seattle on June 12, 2023, and spent this season on loan to Ilves Tampere (Liiga). He had 43 points (26 goals, 17 assists) in 48 games and led all Liiga rookies in points. He also represented Finland at the World Junior Championship and had six points (two goals, four assists) in seven games.

After his season with Ilves ended, the Kraken reassigned him to Coachella Valley on April 9. Coachella Valley, the Calder Cup finalist last season, has clinched the Pacific Division regular-season title and will have a first-round bye. Nyman quickly went into the Coachella Valley lineup and played two games last weekend. He had the game-winning goal in a 2-1 victory against San Diego (Anaheim Ducks) on April 14.

Luke Tuch, Laval (Montreal Canadiens)

The Canadiens got another key prospect under contract April 16 when they signed Tuch to a two-year entry-level contract that begins next season. In the meantime, Tuch has joined Laval for the rest of this season.

Montreal selected Tuch, a 22-year-old forward, in the second round (No. 47) of the 2020 NHL Draft, and he spent four seasons at Boston University. He had 30 points (10 goals, 20 assists) in 39 games as a senior to help the Terriers reach the Frozen Four. He is the younger brother of Buffalo Sabres forward Alex Tuch.

Laval remains in playoff contention for the final playoff spot in the North Division going into the last weekend of the AHL regular season.

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