MOLINE, IL — The Quad City Mallards have tendered eight qualifying offers, making those players restricted free agents in a sense for one month. After that month is over, the players can be signed to any contract or not signed at all. If the player goes overseas or to a different league, the player must return to the team that extended them the qualifying offer for that season unless they are a veteran. If a veteran player doesn’t accept the qualifying offer before August 1, then they can look for another team. However, the team that offered them the qualifying offer has seven days after receiving word of the veteran wishing to play for another team to match the contract offered.
The Mallards to receive qualifying offers were Alex PetanC.J. Motte, Michael Parks, Justin Kovacs, Kyle Novak, Andrew PanzarellaAlexander Kuqali, and Jack Nevins. Some of the names on the Mallards’ list – such as Petan and Motte – aren’t a surprise, while Parks’ name being on the list is. Via Twitter and Instagram, Petan announced on June 29 that he had signed with HC Bolzano of the EBEL in Italy. If Petan returns to the ECHL this season, he must play for the Mallards or have his rights traded to another team to play.

I believed Parks wouldn’t require a QO as I thought he’d be one of the players already signed but unannounced. Parks did great for the Mallards last season, racking up 56 points in 61 games (29 G, 27 A) while being top scorer. Chris Francis and Kovacs were tied for point leaders with 60 apiece, putting them just ahead of Parks. Parks seems to like Coach Phil Axtell, and combined with the new affiliation agreement with Vegas and his lack of an entry-level contract with any team, he could definitely see time with the Wolves this season. Parks was also one of the players from last season who had played for the Cedar Rapids Roughriders of the United States Hockey League in juniors.

Novak is a recent graduate of Western Michigan University, and joined the Mallards on March 27. In six regular season games with the Flock, the forward scored one assist. While he was on the playoff roster, he never made an appearance against the Fort Wayne Komets during the five-game opening round series between the two clubs.

Kuqali and Panzarella are both defensemen, Panzarella sitting at a neutral plus/minus for the Mallards while Kuqali’s stats show -6 for his 28 games. Kuqali was acquired mid-season from the Florida Everblades in a deal that sent the rights of defenseman Jake Baker down south so he could remain in the Winnipeg Jets/Manitoba Moose system. Panzarella was traded from the Idaho Steelheads at the end of last June to finish the future considerations trade for Kellan Lain‘s rights; Lain never reported to the Mallards, so the Mallards got the better end of the deal.

Nevins brought some AHL experience to the Mallards last season, and while he didn’t put up very good numbers, he was more than just a tough presence on the ice. While racking up team-leading 122 penalty minutes, he scored 11 goals with 13 assists in 61 games. He also had team-worst plus/minus rating at -14.

Francis re-signed with the Mallards on June 27, making him the first piece of the 2017-18 team. Other players may have already signed, but the team has not announced any other signings. A player signed to a contract prior to June 30 did not require a qualifying offer.

For the latest list of player signings across the ECHL, visit our 2017 ECHL Transactions page!

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