Eric Martinsson’s days with the Minnesota Wild seem to be numbered, but he’s not likely to be too upset about it. Swedish new source “Hockey News SE” reports that the Martinsson and the Wild have come to a mutual agreement that the recent free agent signing is to be placed on unconditional waivers in the near future for the purpose of terminating his contract. Martinsson, 26, signed with Minnesota back in May, looking to make the jump overseas after a successful stretch in the Swedish Hockey League with the Vaxjo Lakers. Instead of earning a spot on the NHL roster, Martinsson was in fact a relatively early cut from training camp. While the puck-moving blue liner has nine points through 13 games with the AHL’s Iowa Wild, he seems no closer to pushing for a chance in Minnesota than he did before the season began. As such, Martinsson would like to return home to Sweden and the Wild are expected to oblige him. Eric Martinsson is just the latest in a stream of players departing the North American minors to return to Europe this season, although Hockey New SE speculates that Martinsson’s return will be of considerable interest to many teams in the SHL.
- Veteran forward Jan Kovar is also pondering a return to Europe. Kovar signed with the New York Islanders this summer after years of success in the KHL and in his native Czech Republic. Kovar was expected to not only compete for a job with the Isles, but potentially even center a scoring line. Instead, Kovar proved to be a poor fit with the team in camp and did not crack the starting lineup. His contract was quickly terminated, but in holding out hope for another NHL opportunity, he signed with the AHL’s Providence Bruins. Kovar has nine points in ten games with Providence, while their parent club, the Boston Bruins, have struggled with injuries and consistency, but no contract offer seems to be coming. The Providence Journal’s Mark Divver now reports that Kovar has not practiced with the team in two days and is supposedly weighing overseas contract offers. Divver believes that Kovar has offers in the KHL and NLA, as well as back home in the Czech Republic, but no such opportunities in North America. Divver additionally questions whether Kovar plays with the requisite pace to succeed in the NHL, a criticism that has come up frequently during his brief efforts this season.
- Less than 25 games into the season doesn’t seem to be too early for a blockbuster trade in the Ontario Hockey League. The Kingston Frontenacs, with just seven win thus far the second-worst record in the league, have cashed in on two of their best assets. The Niagara Ice Dogs announced today that they have acquired Jason Robertson and Jacob Paquette from Kingston. Robertson, a second-round pick of the Dallas Stars in 2017, has back-to-back 80+ point seasons and is currently fourth among OHL scoring leaders with 38 points and second in goals with 23. Paquette, a seventh-round pick of the Nashville Predators in 2017, is a big, physical defender and a locker room leader as well. Niagara is currently tied for second in the Central Division and tied for sixth overall in the league, but will almost certainly see a considerable boost from this trade. Yet, Kingston also received a king’s ransom in the deal. The Ice Dogs surrendered a total of eleven future draft picks, including three second-rounders and three third-rounders, as well as promising draft-eligible defenseman Billy Constantinou and forward Ian Martin. The Frontenacs may have disappointed their fans by virtually giving up on the season less than halfway in, but will reward them with a solid flow of talent for years to come.