Devils Sign Halonen to ELC

The Devils announced today the signing of college free agent Brian Halonen to a 2-year Entry Level Contract. The forward will also sign an American Hockey League Amateur Tryout Contract and report to the Utica Comets this week.

The ELC will kick in for the 2022-23 NHL season.

The 23-year-old winger from Michigan Tech had 21 goals and 23 assists (44 points) over 36 games with the Huskies this past season. That was sixth in the NCAA with those 21 goals and his 44 points was good for eighth overall in the NCAA. He finished first in the nation in five-on-five goals according to the Devils’ PR department’s press release on him.

Halonen finished the season as a top-10 finalist for the Hobey Baker Award – he will be going up against Devils draft pick and University of Michigan defenseman Luke Hughes.

Halonen was named to the All-Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) First Team in the postseason this year after he led the CCHA in total points (36) as well as goals in conference games this season.

He played in 138 total games in his four years at Michigan Tech (spanning 2018-19 to 2021-22) and had 53 goals and 52 assists over that time totaling 105 points. The 6-foot tall, 215-pound winger also had ten game-winning goals in his collegiate career.

In 2018-19, he won the Michigan Tech Huskies’ Norbert Matovich Memorial Outstanding Freshman Award. He had 12 goals and nine assists for 21 points in his rookie season.

He is a native of Delano, Minnesota and played two seasons with the Des Moines Buccaneers of the United States Hockey League prior to his time at Michigan Tech.

During the 2017-18 season, his 35 points placed him third on the Buccaneers in points and his 19 assists was tied for first. He also had 16 goals that season with Des Moines.

In addition to that, the Devils also announced that forward AJ Greer and defenseman Kevin Bahl have been sent back to Utica.

Devils Sign Tomas Tatar

The Devils came to terms today with unrestricted free agent forward Tomas Tatar. He signed a two-year contract worth an average annual value of $4.5 million.

The contract is worth $9,000,000 and the breakdown is $3,750,000 in 2021-22 and $5,250,000 in 2022-23.

The 30-year-old was with the Montreal Canadiens for the last three seasons starting in 2018. Last season, he played in 50 games and scored 10 goals and 20 assists (totaling 30 points) and was third in scoring among the Habs’ forwards.

He has participated in 625 games over his ten-year career with the Detroit Red Wings, Vegas Golden Knights and Canadiens. He has 176 goals and 201 assists for 377 points (a .60 point per game clip) to go with 224 penalty minutes.

He had seven straight years of 19 or more goals coming into this season (a shortened year) according to the Devils’ PR team who put out the press release. Over that seven-year span, he also had eight or more power play points (19 in 2014-15 was his career high).

The Ilava, Slovakia-native was the Wings’ second round pick, 60th overall in 2009. He played in the Detroit system with the Grand Rapids Griffins (AHL) before hitting the NHL. He won a Calder Cup with the Griffins in 2013, winning the Jack A. Butterfield Trophy as playoff MVP along the way.

Before coming to the NHL, he played with HK Dukla Trencin and HK Dubnica in his native Slovakia. He also played for Slovakia internationally at the 2009 and 2010 World Junior Championship, the 2010, 2012, 2014, 2015 and 2019 World Championship where he won a silver medal in 2010 and 2012. He was an alternate captain for the Slovaks in the other years. He also participated in the 2014 Winter Olympics and the 2016 World Cup of Hockey – he was on the runners-up, Team Europe).