The carpool between the Twin Ports and Winnipeg, Manitoba, just got a little more crowded in recent days after the Jets added Duluth natives Derek Forbort and Dominic Toninato via one-year contracts in free agency.
The Jets already had a pair of Hermantown natives out of Minnesota Duluth in Neal Pionk and rookie Dylan Samberg. Pionk, a 25-year-old defenseman, is entering his second season in Winnipeg after being acquired from the New York Rangers via an offseason trade in 2019. Samberg, 21 and also a defenseman, just wrapped up his college career at UMD.
Cloquet native Westin Michaud, who played at Colorado College and this past year at North Dakota, is also in the Jets’ organization with the Manitoba Moose of the American Hockey League.
Toninato, 26, signed a two-way deal worth $700,000 after totaling four goals and seven assists in 46 games with the Florida Panthers in 2019-20. The former Bulldogs and Duluth East Greyhounds captain spent two seasons in the Colorado Avalanche organization between 2017-19 before being traded and signed by Florida.
Forbort, 28, signed a one-way deal with the Jets worth $1 million. The former North Dakota defenseman and 2010 first-round draft pick of the Los Angeles Kings had been with the Kings for seven seasons before getting traded in February to the Calgary Flames. Also a former Greyhound before going on to play for the U.S. National Team Development Program, Forbort played in just 13 games for the Kings last season, but 17 with the Flames, including 10 during the postseason.
Other former ‘Dogs on the move
Former Bulldog and Greyhound Andy Welinski, 27, is back with the Anaheim Ducks organization after signing a one-year, one-way, $750,000 contract.
Welinski signed last offseason with the Philadelphia Flyers, but never played an NHL game, instead spending the regular season in the AHL with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms before joining Philadelphia in the postseason bubble.
We have more signings coming your way! https://t.co/v395aZMLP1— Anaheim Ducks (@AnaheimDucks) October 10, 2020
Welinski was drafted by the Ducks in the third round of the 2011 draft and spent three seasons with the organization — playing in 36 NHL games — before leaving in free agency.
- Less than 24 hours after announcing on Twitter he was leaving the Toronto Maple Leafs organization after four seasons to become an unrestricted free agent, former Bulldogs and Minnesota Wilderness goaltender Kasimir Kaskisuo, 27, signed a one-year, two-way deal with the Nashville Predators worth $700,000. Kaskisuo made his NHL debut with the Leafs on Nov. 16, 2019, against the Pittsburgh Penguins, his only NHL game thus far. Kaskisuo won a career-high 14 games with the Toronto Marlies in the AHL last season posting a 2.79 goals against average and .909 save percentage.
Former Bulldog Joey Anderson, 22, was traded to the Leafs on Saturday after two seasons with the New Jersey Devils. Telling Sportsnet he was surprised by the move, Anderson played in 52 NHL games and 57 AHL games for the organization after being drafted in 2016 in the third round. He scored eight goals and five assists in the NHL and 17 goals and 23 assists with Binghamton in the AHL.
Former Bulldogs goaltender Hunter Miska remains a restricted free agent, but is headed back to the Colorado Avalanche after receiving a qualifying offer. Other notable former Bulldogs who remain unsigned include J.T. Brown after two seasons with the Minnesota and Iowa Wild, as well as Hibbing native Adam Johnson, who just finished his third season with the Pittsburgh Penguins organization.
This story was updated at 11:18 a.m. Oct. 13 after the Nashville Predators announced the signing of Kasimir Kaskisuo. It was originally posted at 12:20 a.m. Oct. 13.