Today the Danish team the Frederikshavn White Hawks have announced they’ve acquired Kristians Rubins on loan from the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Rubins, a 22-year-old undrafted free agent defender, was signed to an NHL contract on April 1 of this year after playing on the Marlies and Newfoundland Growlers for two seasons.
Originally from Latvia, Rubins has played in Sweden and Latvia as a youngster as well as the WHL for two seasons before joining the Marlies/Growlers in 2018.
Rubins played the full 2019-2020 season on the Marlies, and would likely be contesting with some of the drafted prospects to move up the depth chart there this season whenever the AHL gets underway. While still technically set for an early December start, the Commissioner of the AHL recently acknowledged that they would need at least eight weeks lead time to get a schedule together to start the season. Rumours place the more likely start date for the AHL in March of next year.
The Danish league is technically a semi-pro league, but the rosters have been home to loans of professional players in the past. Eemeli Räsänen played seven games for the team last year on loan from Jokerit of the KHL.
Their coach is Finnish, and they have a fairly international roster this year. The Metal league (named after the union who is their sponsor) has been playing games since late September, and the White Hawks have their next game on October 6. They are set to run until early March, so Rubins might well be able to play nearly a full season there before anything starts up again in North America.
Not nearly as competitive as Swedish Hockey, the Metal league is attracting some loans as other leagues either refuse short term assignments or have maxed out their allowed imports.