The venture into North American hockey appears as if it will be short-lived for veteran Finnish forward Oula Palve. Palve initially signed a one-year deal with the Pittsburgh Penguins this summer, finally making the jump after a career year in the Liiga. However, he never made it to Pittsburgh, recording a paltry eight points through 37 games with AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. The Penguins opted to move him to the Dallas Stars in January for defenseman John Nyberg, after which he recorded just five points through 23 games with AHL Texas. Palve’s time in the minors has indicated that it is unlikely he will make it to the NHL, so the speculation is now that he will return to Europe. Only this time, he is set to sign in the Swedish Hockey League, reports national news source Expressen Sport. Palve is expected to be a hot recruit for SHL teams, with Rogle and Farjestad expected to be the top suitors. At 28, Palve’s first season in North America is likely to be his last, especially if he signs a long-term deal in Sweden.
- Former NHL defenseman Jakub Nakladal is making a career change. Nakladal, 32, spent parts of two seasons in the NHL with the Calgary Flames and Carolina Hurricanes and was considered by some to be underappreciated in his time. Nakladal joined the KHL’s Lokomotiv Yaroslavl midway through the 2016-17 campaign and has been one of their top defensemen ever since. He also shined at the 2018 Olympic Games with the Czech Republic. Despite this success, Nakladal has decided to return home to continue his playing career. Lokomotiv issued a press release thanking the free agent while acknowledging that he has decided to return to the Czech Extraliga, where he last played in 2011-12. There is no indication yet exactly where Nakladal might be headed, but the safe bet is that he will return to HC Pardubice, the organization he grew up in.
- Over the past few years, American International College has emerged as the star of Atlantic Hockey, which is otherwise the weakest conference in the NCAA. Their leader through this climb has been forward Blake Christensen, who has been nothing if not consistent with 20+ points in each of his four years. Last season, Christensen was a Hobey Baker candidate with 47 points in 41 games. Now that his college career is over, Christensen will look to prove that he can continue to produce in the pros despite what some may think about his Atlantic competition over the past four years. The AHL’s Bakersfield Condors will give him that chance, announcing a one-year deal for the undersized but skilled winger. Christensen could be an intriguing player to watch next season in the minors.