NHL News & Notes: Khovanov, Stars Sign Prospects & More

In today’s News & Notes, the Minnesota Wild have signed Alexander Khovanov to an entry-level contract, the Dallas Stars have signed three prospects to entry-level deals and Luke Philp is closing in on a deal with the Calgary Flames.

Related: NHL News & Notes: Pastrnak, Petan & More

Wild Sign Khovanov

The Wild signed Khovanov, the team’s third-round pick from the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, to a three-year entry-level contract Tuesday. The 18-year-old scored 25 goals and 74 points in just 64 games with the Moncton Wildcats of the QMJHL this season and ranked highly in multiple scoring categories on the team in his second season with the club.

Alexander Khovanov Moncton Wildcats
Moncton Wildcats forward Alexander Khovanov (Shawn Davidson/QMJHL)

Khovanov would lead the Wildcats in power play assists (26) while ranking second in game-winning goals (seven). He’d also rank third in scoring, assists, power play goals (seven) and shots on goals (175) while ranking fourth in goals.

This was more of the same for Khovanov who would score nine goals and 28 points in 29 games in his rookie season with the Wildcats a season ago. He and the Wildcats are preparing to take on the Baie-Comeau Drakkar on Friday in their first-round playoff matchup

Stars Sign Three Prospects

The Stars made a trio of moves Tuesday when they signed Rhett Gardner and Joseph Cecconi to two-year entry-level contracts and Josh Melnick to a one-year entry-level contract. Both deals begin in the 2019-20 season. In the meantime, all three players will play in the AHL for the Texas Stars on amateur tryouts for the remainder of the 2018-19 season to get them acclimated to the higher league.

The 23-year-old Gardner was picked 116th overall in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft and spent four seasons at the University of North Dakota. He’d score eight goals and 15 points in 37 games this past season and 34 goals and 74 points in 149 NCAA games in total.

UND forward (Conor Knuteson/UND Athletics)

The 21-year-old Cecconi was drafted by the Stars in the fifth round of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft and would spend the last four seasons at the University of Michigan. This season, he ranked second among all defenders (and fifth among all skaters) on the team with 20 points in 36 games. He’d also score three goals. He finished his NCAA career with nine goals and 62 points in 147 games.

The 23-year-old Melnick was undrafted and would spend the last four seasons at Miami University (Ohio). He’d find success despite teams passing on him as he would score 38 goals and 107 points in 140 games in the NCAA, including 10 goals and 26 points (good enough to lead the Redhawks this season) in 32 games. He would also serve as the team’s captain.

Flames to Sign Luke Philp

According to Bob McKenzie, the Flames are closing in on a contract with Philp. A 23-year-old center coming off his best season with the University of Alberta, Philp turned heads this season and was named the U Sports Player of the Year for the 2018-19 season.

“Winning the Canada West scoring title two years in a row, especially this year when he missed four games due to injury, and still scored 21 goals, speaks for itself,” Alberta head coach Ian Herbers said. “Luke is an excellent leader on our team and a clutch performer. He has produced in all situations, and been the most reliable and consistent player in the conference this season.”

This signing makes a lot of sense for both sides as Philp is originally from Alberta and as mentioned, spent the majority of the last four seasons in Alberta as a member of the Red Deer Rebels in the WHL (following a trade from the Kootenay Ice) as well as the University of Alberta.

For the Flames, Philp is a player who has proven he can produce at every level he’s played at. Taking a risk-free flier makes all the sense in the world.