Former Vernon Vipers forward Mike Zalewski is one of three Vancouver players to become an unrestricted free agent after the Canucks did not extend a qualifying offer.
Zalewski has spent the past three seasons with the American Hockey League (AHL) Utica Comets. Last season in 54 games with Utica Zalewski picked up (5-goals-13-assists-18-points). Zalewski left his third year at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) signing with the Vancouver Canucks March 17th 2014. Zalewski skated in his first NHL practice with the Canucks March 21, 2014 before making his NHL debut on Saturday April 12 2014 in a 5-2 loss in Edmonton. Zalewski picked up his first career NHL point (assist) in a 5-1 win over the visiting Calgary Flames the following night. Zalewski has played just six games in the NHL with the Canucks.
Zalewski played two season's in Vernon (2010-2012) In 106 regular season games with the Vipers Zalewski collected (50-goals-54-assists-104-points).
Mike Zalewski's Player Profile:
This was in the Utica Observer Newspaper:
Canucks issue qualifying offers; Will Mike Zalewski return?
By Ben Birnell
Posted Jun 26, 2017
Mike Zalewski could be on the move.
The New Hartford native was not among the seven restricted free agents to be issued a qualifying offer from the Vancouver Canucks at Monday afternoon’s deadline.
The 24-year-old Zalewski is one of three Vancouver players to become an unrestricted free agent after the Canucks did not extend a qualifying offer.
Rookie goaltender Michael Garteig, who was winless in eight appearances with the Comets last season, and Joseph Cramarossa, who didn’t play for the Comets, also didn’t receive a qualifying offer. It is possible the trio could return to the organization during free agency, which begins Saturday.
The Canucks made qualifying offers to: Forwards Reid Boucher, Michael Chaput, Brendan Gaunce, Bo Hovat, Joseph LaBate and defensemen Evan McEneny and Nikita Tryamkin (who has returned to Russia.)
Zalewski, who turns 25 in August, was re-signed to a one-year NHL deal last summer after playing key roles during solid second pro season. However, his third campaign was slowed after being injured in November when his upper body collided with the net trying to break up a play against Hartford early in the season. He missed more than a month of action and finished with five goals and 13 assists in 54 games.
This is the second time the 6-foot-2, 205-pound Zalewski, who was undrafted and played two seasons at RPI, has not been given a qualifying offer by the Canucks since starting his professional career in 2014. He worked his way back to an NHL deal during the 2015-16 season.
In all, the versatile forward has played 167 regular-season games for the Comets, totaling 24 goals and 63 points. He has two assists in six games with Vancouver.
Of the players given offers, LaBate and McEneny each spent a majority of the season with the Comets. Chaput played 10 games with the Comets before spending the rest of the season with Vancouver. He could get another look this season, depending on decisions made by Vancouver.
The 24-year-old LaBate continued to use his size – he’s 6-foot-5 and 208 pounds, to play a gritty game and provided a strong net-front presence in 38 games. He finished with six goals and 10 assists for the Comets.
McEneny, who turned 23 in May, was one of the Comets’ most steady defensemen and played a few key roles in 64 games. McEneny, who was voted the team’s most improved player, finished with eight goals and 23 points in 67 games in his first full AHL season, while making his NHL debut in February.