The Manchester Monarchs will have a new leading scorer next season.
Skilled right wing Bud Holloway has signed with Skellefte AIK of the Swedish Elite League for 2011-12. The restricted free agent declined the Kings’ qualifying offer, at least temporarily ending his tenure with the team that drafted him in the third round of the 2006 draft.
Both this season (28+33=61) and last (19+28-47), Holloway led the Kings’ American Hockey League affiliate in scoring. He helped the Monarchs reach the Eastern Conference Final series in 2010, tying an AHL record with six game-winning goals in a single postseason (out of the seven goals he scored).
But in three pro seasons, the 23-year-old from Wapella, Saskatchewan never got the NHL call-up he desired. He joins Corey Elkins and Oscar Moller on a short list of Kings prospects who have left for Europe this summer.
Restricted free-agent forward Trevor Lewis re-signed with the Kings on Friday. His two-year deal pays a reported $1.45 million.
The announcement came with little surprise one day after general manager Dean Lombardi said a new contract was “close.” Lewis had only three goals and 13 points in 72 games last season, his first full year in the NHL. But he was hard to take out of the lineup because of his speed — a rare commodity on last year’s squad — and penalty-killing value. Lewis also had a goal and four points in the Kings’ six-game playoff series against San Jose.
Lewis can play either center or the wing, and figures to compete with Andrei Loktionov for the fourth-line center position in training camp.
The Kings also announced the signings of forwards Marc-Andre Cliche, Rich Clune and David Meckler, defensemen Andrew Campbell and Patrick Mullen, and goaltender Jeff Zatkoff. All six players spent the entire season in Manchester and were restricted free agents.
One player who won’t be returning to the Monarchs is Corey Elkins. The agent for the restricted free-agent forward wrote on Twitter that Elkins could be headed to Europe for a year and won’t re-sign with the Kings. Elkins had 18 goals and 44 points in 76 games for Manchester last season, after posting 21 goals and 43 points in 72 games the year before. Signed as a free agent out of Ohio State University, Elkins had one goal in three games with the Kings, all in 2009-10.