Isaiah Saville

Hockey season has arrived, which means plenty of Alaskans are getting accustomed to new locations, so let’s update you on who is where and doing what.

Goaltender Isaiah Saville of Anchorage, who signed with the NHL’s Vegas Knights last spring following his junior season at Omaha, is already between the pipes in preseason. He stopped 24 of 26 shots Friday for Vegas in a 3-2 win over Arizona at the Rooke Faceoff in San Jose, Calif.

Last spring, Saville made a strong impression on the club that drafted him. He won his last six starts for Vegas’ American Hockey League affiliate, the nearby Henderson Silver Knights. Saville went 6-1-0, with a 2.05 goals-against average and .929 save percentage. What might be equally, or more, impressive is that in a postgame interview Friday Saville opined that last season was great, and confidence building, but that his concentration is on the present, not the past. Spoken like a pro.

Nate Thompson

Meanwhile, veteran NHL center Nate Thompson of Anchorage, is ticketed for the Los Angeles’ Kings training camp on a professional tryout contract. That’s a show-me deal – he shows the Kings, one of nine NHL clubs he has played for, that he’s still got game and they’ll sign him to a deal. Thompson last season played for Philadelphia and has played the second-most NHL games of any Alaskan.

And goaltender Pheonix Copley of Anchorage, one of just three Alaska goalies to play in the NHL, is also in the Kings organization. He signed a one-year, one-way, $825,000 deal with LA. He’s likely to slot into the Kings’ AHL affiliate, the Ontario Reign, but “one-way’’ means he makes $825K no matter where he plays – sweet deal. Copley spent last season in the NHL Washington organization, mostly in the AHL, but made two NHL appearances.

(The only current Alaska NHLer is Boston Bruins goalie Jeremy Swayman of Anchorage, who is coming off a strong rookie season and recently blew into Vegas for the NHL’s media tour.)

Nolan Walker

Speaking of the AHL, remember that forward Nolan Walker of Anchorage has a contract with the Toronto Marlies, the affiliate of the Maple Leafs. He signed following his senior season at St. Cloud State and will make his pro debut this season.

In the ECHL, former UAA forward Alec Butcher of Anchorage in the offseason was traded to the Reading Royals from the Rapid City Rush, for whom he scored 23 goals and 53 points in 69 games. Goaltender Michael Bullion of Anchorage has re-signed with ECHL Norfolk, for which he made his pro debut last season.

Across the pond, veteran forward Tanner Sorenson of Anchorage, a long-time staple with ECHL Kalamazoo, is working for the Nottingham Panthers of the Great Britain-based Elite Ice Hockey League. Defenseman Christian Hausinger, a second-year pro, is employed on the same circuit with the Fife Flyers.

Brian Cooper

Finally, U.S. Olympic defenseman – pretty cool description – Brian Cooper of Anchorage — @CoopDaddy907 on Twitter — has switched clubs in the Swedish Hockey League, moving to Vaxjo from Oskarshamn.

Plenty of other Alaskans are either playing or getting ready to start the season, and we’ll fill you in on them in future stories about Alaskans in pro, college and junior hockey.

This content sponsored by
Korndrop Family Foundation | Arctic Slope Regional Corporation | Replacement Glass | Coho Financial Group | Midas Alaska | Black-Smith, Bethard & Carlson, LLC. | Aktive Soles | Continental Auto Group | BOSCO's | Residential Mortgage | Taylored Restoration | JL Properties | RE/MAX Dynamic Properties Kevin Taylor | Joe Alston | Alaska Oil and Gas Association | Team Moriarty | Kathie Bethard | Todd Whited | Team Heat | Dr. Justin Libby, DDS | Invisalign-Ben Ward | Allen Clendaniel | Mark Silverman | Dan Rufner | Rick Mystrom | In Memory of Drs. John & Elizabeth Tower | Mark and Jamie Johnson | Don Winchester | Kristopher Knauss | Glen Bailey | Aspen Endodontics | The Conway Family | Don Clary and Judy Besh | Jim Hajdukovich | Kathleen Navarre | Moose's Tooth, Bear Tooth and Broken Tooth Brewing | R&M Consultants, Inc. | Donley Family | Firetap | On the Border | Krispy Kreme | Burgerfi | Amy and Greg Schumacher | Alice & Gunnar Knapp