Two NHL seasons and contracts (and possibly careers) could soon be coming to an end. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports that a pair of names have been placed on unconditional waivers today for the purpose of contract termination. They are veteran defenseman Eric Gelinas of the Carolina Hurricanes and young forward Ivan Lodnia of the Minnesota Wild.
Gelinas, a name that should be familiar to NHL fans, is an experienced defender in the league with nearly 200 games to his credit with the New Jersey Devils and Colorado Avalanche. However, he spent the past the past three seasons in Europe before returning with a one-year contract with the Hurricanes this off-season. Given the defensive depth in Carolina though, Gelinas has yet to see a return to the NHL level and very well might not have played for anyone other than the AHL’s Chicago Wolves this season. As a result, he is seeking a contract termination so that he can pursue greater opportunity elsewhere. One of the best offensive defensemen in Sweden last year, Gelinas is likely to head back to the SHL if he clears waivers.
Lodnia, 22, is a different case. The young forward is in his first pro season in North America after playing in the KHL on loan last year. A 2017 third-round pick and long-time OHL standout, Lodnia is considered a good prospect and likely expected to be treated as such by the Wild. Instead, Minnesota’s depth forced them to assign Lodnia to the ECHL to begin the year. When he opted not to report, Lodnia was suspended and as a result has not played a single game this season. Enough is enough apparently, as the two sides are moving toward a contract termination. It is unclear if the Wild have tried to trade Lodnia and, if so, if his refusal to report has been a turn off to potential suitors. An interested club could still grab Lodnia on waivers, but typically unconditional placements go untouched. He could potentially sign with another NHL team, or AHL team, but there is also the chance that he returns to Europe instead. It’s a strange twist to what once seemed like a budding NHL career that now many never be.