Deep Blue Sea: Joel Kellman clears unconditional waivers

Kellman will return to Sweden, plus the return of elite Erik Karlsson, Olympics in question and more in today’s news and notes.

The San Jose Sharks placed center Joel Kellman on unconditional waivers on Tuesday for the purpose of contract termination. Kellman cleared waivers on Wednesday morning. The 27-year-old signed a two-year contract extension with the Sharks in Aug. 2020, worth $1.5 million total. He would have become an unrestricted free agent this summer.

Outside of 31 games with the Sharks during the 2019-20 season, after signing as an undrafted free agent, Kellman spent most of his time in the organization with the San Jose Barracuda. In 11 AHL games this season, Kellman has scored 1 goal and and 3 assists, missing time due to a concussion sustained from a high hit by Abbotsford Canucks winger Vincent Arseneau. Last season, Kellman finished second on the team in points with 21 (8 goals, 13 assists) in 19 games.

During his rookie NHL season, Kellman scored 3 goals and 4 assists in 31 games. Kellman also played 7 NHL games in the shortened 2020-21 season, scoring 2 points (1 goal, 1 assist).

It’s been rumored by Swedish hockey pundits that Kellman will join the Vaxjo Lakers HC of the Swedish Hockey League. What we do know is that Kellman requested his contract termination to go back to Sweden, per Curtis Pashelka of The Mercury News. During his first stint in the SHL, Kellman was a reliable scorer, finishing at or around 30 points in three of four seasons between Karlskona HK and Brynas IF.

Kellman also represented Sweden at the international level in 2018-19, playing in eight games and recording 4 assists.

The Sharks will be saving some money by terminating the second half of the two-year deal that was back-loaded in real dollars. Kellman’s salary, both in the minors and NHL this season came in at $800,000, above his $750,000 cap hit. Last year, his AHL salary was just $300,000.

News & Notes

  • Is Erik Karlsson back? Analyzing the defenceman’s resurgent season [Sportsnet]
  • Sharks’ winger to have shoulder surgery, will be out long term [The Mercury News]
  • NHL postpones more games due to COVID. So why did the Sharks have to play on? [The Mercury News]
  • Erik Karlsson unlikely to play Olympics as things stand [NBC Sports]
  • NHL Power Rankings: 1-32 poll, plus every team’s superpower [ESPN]
  • 32 Thoughts: As urgency over COVID-19 grows, pausing schedule will be last resort [Sportsnet]/

Blood in the Water

  • Chicago Blackhawks, Kyle Beach reach settlement on lawsuit [ESPN]
  • Sources: Amid wave of COVID-19 cases, NHL, NHLPA institute enhanced protocols into January [ESPN]
  • LeBrun: NHL not considering pausing season yet but Olympic participation increasingly in jeopardy [The Athletic]
  • Why the NHL is having a huge COVID-19 outbreak despite high vaccination numbers [The Seattle Times]
  • Why the NHL might have a hard time shaking Covid for good [Canes Country]
  • USA Hockey ‘hopeful’ NHL players will participate in 2022 Olympics []
  • Bishop ends playing career with Stars because of knee injury []/

Scores & Recaps

  • Washington Capitals 4, Chicago Blackhawks 5 (OT)
  • New York Rangers 3, Arizona Coyotes 2
  • Seattle Kraken 1, Anaheim Ducks 4/

Click on a team name to find a recap on their SB Nation site!

On the Schedule

  • Philadelphia Flyers at Montreal Canadiens, 4 p.m. PT/7 p.m. ET on TSN2, RDS, NBCSP+, ESPN+
  • Ottawa Senators at Tampa Bay Lightning, 4 p.m. PT/7 p.m. ET on BSSUN, TSN5, RDS2, ESPN+
  • Los Angeles Kings at Florida Panthers, 4 p.m. PT/7 p.m. ET on BSFL, BSW, ESPN+
  • Vegas Golden Knights at New Jersey Devils, 4 p.m. PT/7 p.m. ET on MSG+, ATTSN-RM, ESPN+
  • Detroit Red Wings at Carolina Hurricanes, 4 p.m. PT/7 p.m. ET on BSSO, BSDET, ESPN+
  • Boston Bruins at New York Islanders, 4:30 p.m. PT/7:30 p.m. ET on SN360, SNE, SNP, MSG+ 2, NESN, ESPN+
  • Colorado Avalanche at Nashville Predators, 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET on BSSO, ALT, ESPN+
  • Buffalo Sabres at Minnesota Wild, 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET on BSN, BSWI, MSG-B, ESPN+
  • Columbus Blue Jackets at Edmonton Oilers, 6 p.m. PT/9 p.m. ET on SN1, SNO, SNW, BSOH, ESPN+
  • Vancouver Canucks at San Jose Sharks, 7:30 p.m. PT/10:30 p.m. ET on NBCSCA, SNP, ESPN+/