The Minnesota Wild have locked up 26 year-old defenseman Zach Palmquist to a one-year, two way contract, per Renaud Lavoie. The NHL value of the contract is $725,000. Palmquist has not yet played an NHL game, but played in 72 games for the AHL affiliate Iowa Wild last season. Palmquist is a low-scoring two-way defender, but at barely 6 foot tall, relies more on his skating and stick-checking to find success. He has a decent, accurate pass but cannot be relied upon for consistent offensive production. Still, he was trapped in a gigantic logjam with the glut of defensemen in the Minnesota system. Perhaps he finally gets his cup of tea as a bottom-pairing defender in 2017-18.
- Mark Lazarus of the Chicago Sun-Times contemplates the effect the Chicago overhaul will have on on-ice performance next season. He’s quick to point out that the 2016-17 Blackhawks had the second-best record in franchise history, which is quite storied. That said, it seems unlikely that the Hawks will be able to replicate that regular season success with such incredible turnover. Lazarus may be a little premature in his worry about post-season contention or management firings, but GM Stan Bowman and coach Joel Quenneville will undoubtedly start feeling heat if the season starts off on a sour note. Losing Artemi Panarin and Niklas Hjalmarsson in particular have drawn ire from the fanbase, and it will be interesting to see how much faith ownership maintains if Chicago struggles early in the incredibly deep Central division. Although many of the moves were made out of salary cap necessity, the expectation is to win.
- The Flyers never do seem to fully alleviate their goaltending troubles. Bob Ford of the Philadelphia Inquirer is quick to point out that free-agent acquisition Brian Elliott is not the answer to all their woes in between the pipes. He points out with particular concern the unlikelihood of Michal Neuvirth playing a full 40+ game split, which he hasn’t done outside of one season. Ford also attacks the tandem goaltending model, stating that it rarely finds success – though that is certainly a matter of debate. Elliott himself had his best season of his career for the 2011-12 Blues in a tandem with Jaroslav Halak. Ultimately, the franchise seems to be pinning its long-term hopes on either Carter Hart,18 or Felix Sandstrom, 20 – but neither is a sure thing. GM Ron Hextall is still not sold on Anthony Stolarz (even after protecting him in the expansion draft) and will watch his progress closely next season with the AHL Phantoms in Lehigh Valley.