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Lightning Round: All three CHL leagues officially cancel their seasons

But also, a college free agent signing. That’s fun!

NHL: SEP 18 Preseason - Hurricanes at Lightning Photo by Mark LoMoglio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

On Wednesday, the Western Hockey League (WHL) and Ontario Hockey League (OHL) joined the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) in cancelling their seasons meaning that the CHL season is officially over. This was expected news but even so, the finality is notable.

QMJHL Cancellation

WHL Cancellation

OHL Cancellation

With the end of the CHL season including the Memorial Cup or the Under-18 World Championships, NHL teams are missing a significant chunk of the information they would usually use to evaluate draft eligible players. It’s difficult to know how this will impact the draft. Teams usually have reasonably well formed lists by this point in the year but we’ll never know which players might have had a strong showing down the stretch in the CHL or internationally to make a last minute push up the rankings. Or vice versa. Instead, teams will only have the regular season to date as well as the World Junior Championships and the preseason Ivan Hlinka tournament as major points of reference.

Other Hockey News

We did get a couple of signings yesterday. First, a report that Bruins will be signing Nick Wolff from Minnesota-Duluth where he’s been a teammate of Lightning prospect Cole Koepke.

And second, the Buffalo Sabres announced that they signed Brandon Biro from Penn State University.

Biro recorded 25 points (10+15) in 25 games while serving as team captain during his senior season with Penn State in 2019-20. He led the Nittany Lions to a 20-10-4 record, including a 12-8-4 conference record that topped the Big Ten.

He attended Sabres development camp in June 2018.

In his 31 Thoughts column, Elliotte Friedman listed several other NCAA free agents who could be close to making decisions as to where they’d like to play their NHL hockey.

Others getting closer to a decision: Mitchell Chaffee (UMass); Connor Mackey (Minnesota State-Mankato); Brinson Pasichnuk (Arizona State); Colton Poolman (North Dakota). Teams can’t sign them to contracts for this season, which would usually be a recruiting strategy — “We’ll let you burn the year.” Curious to see if any of them wait until we get some kind of resolution, to see if “burning the year” will still be possible.

Friedman does manage to cobble together a full 31 thoughts despite the lack of actual hockey right now so if you’re searching for hockey content, he’s got you covered.