On Wednesday November 25th, the Utah Grizzlies announced the signings of defensemen Miles Gendron, Garrett Johnston and forward Denis Smirnov. The three parties agreed to terms on standard player contracts for the upcoming season.
Denis Smirnov has spent the last four seasons in the NCAA with the Penn State Nittany Lions. During his collegiate hockey career, the winger recorded 50 goals along with 65 assists in 137 games. He’s also fifth all-time in points in Penn State history with 115.
He was selected by the Colorado Avalanche in the draft’s sixth round back in 2017. Of the 50 goals he scored during college, 10 of those were game winners, which allowed the lefty to mark a school record. He’s also a three-time Academic All-Big Ten.
Miles Gendron joins the Utah Grizzlies after spending last season between four different teams. This included three in the ECHL, being the Newfoundland Growlers, Reading Royals and Brampton Beast. He also played with the AHL’s Belleville Senators. Prior to that, the lefty spent four years with the Connecticut Huskies in the NCAA.
In 2018/19, he returned to his home soil, playing part of the season with the Brampton Beast. During his time with Connecticut, the defensemen recorded 10 goals along with 23 assists which made for 33 points. He did so in 116 games. While there, in 2018/19, Gendron was named by the Huskies as captain.
That season, the 24-year-old recorded three goals along with four assists. During the four games in Brampton afterwards, Gendron, a native of Oakville, picked up one assist, but did not score a goal. The Canadian was selected back in 2014 in the draft’s third round by the Ottawa Senators.
Between Brampton, Belleville, Reading and Newfoundland, Gendron, a dual citizen, skated in a total of 37 games. He’s spent most of his time with the Beast, where he’s tallied two goals along with six assists. Last season, in 21 games, Gendron racked up four goals along with 11 assists.
Garrett Johnston also joins the Grizzlies after signing with the Growlers on the 30th of July. The defensemen agreed to terms with Newfoundland before the team and their division opted out of the season.
Johnston, who’s a Kelly Cup Champion, has spent the last two seasons with the Growlers hockey club. He did so on loan in 2018-19 and then signed a contract for 2019-20. In 96 games with the Growlers, the lefty racked up five goals along with 40 assists which made for 45 points.
Prior to joining the Growlers, the native of Winnipeg, Manitoba played 21 games in SPHL. He did so with the Birmingham Bulls, racking up one goal along with 11 assists. I am looking forward to seeing these three players add some championship caliber to the Grizzlies this season.