The Vancouver Canucks had a new face at practice on Friday as college free agent signing Mike Zalewski joined them.
He skated as an extra forward along with centre Jordan Schroeder wearing number 40.
The 21-year-old centre was signed out of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute last week by the Canucks to a two-year, two-way entry-level contract with an average annual value of $925,000.
The Canucks and Zalewski had the option of signing a contract for this season or next. The two sides signed for 2013-14, which means he had to report to the Canucks.
As News 1130 points out, Zalewski could not report to the Canucks AHL team, the Utica Comets, because he was signed after the AHL’s March 12 trade deadline (yep, they have one!).
After the AHL trade deadline, teams can only add players on amateur tryout contracts or players that have been returned by NHL teams.
Couldn’t Zalewski just sign an amateur tryout with the Comets? He cannot because he is not longer an ‘amateur’ by virtue of having an NHL contract with the Canucks.
Can he suit up for the Canucks? Absolutely. Zalewski can play in the last ten games of the regular season, but cannot play in the playoffs since he was signed after the March 3rd NHL trade deadline.