MOLINE, IL – The Quad City Mallards released their season-ending roster on June 16, officially ending the 2016-17 season. The roster consists of 20 players, some of whom played only a few games with the team before being released.
Names such as Nelson Gadoury, Connor Brown, Nathan Todd, and Jace Coyle stand out on the list, as none played more than 15 games before being released or leaving the team. Coyle was closest to the 15 game mark at 14 before returning to the Sheffield Steelers of the British Elite Ice Hockey League (EIHL), while Brown was at the bottom with only three games played. Of course, the fact that their names are on the list isn’t that surprising. With eight players having been assigned from the Minnesota Wild and/or Iowa Wild throughout the season, it was to be expected that Mallards GM Bob McNamara and staff would have to dig into the roster for names.
Of those eight assignees, three of them appear on Minnesota’s unprotected list ahead of the NHL’s Expansion Draft: Brady Brassart, Guillaume Gelinas, and Alex Gudbranson. Gelinas signed with HC Banska Bystrica of the Slovak Extraliga prior to the protected list being released, as his three-year contract with the Wild expires this season. Gudbranson had been loaned to the Toronto Marlies on Valentine’s Day by Minnesota, where he played four games for the AHL club. His contract also expires this season, meaning that he becomes a free-agent.
Finishing out the roster submitted are forwards Grant Arnold, Chris Francis, Justin Kovacs, Nolan LaPorte, Josh MacDonald, Jack Nevins, Kyle Novak, Michael Parks, Alex Petan, and Sam Warning. The defensemen on the roster are Donnie Harris, Alexander Kuqali, Chris Leibinger, Andrew Panzarella and Mike Wilson, and goalie C.J. Motte.
Two days before the roster was submitted, defenseman Kevin Gibson was sent to the Rapid City Rush to finish the trade that brought MacDonald to the Mallards and sent Mike Monfredo to the Rush.
Qualifying offers are due on July 1, and are valid until August 1. Each team is able to submit eight qualifying offers, but any player signed to a contract prior to July 1 doesn’t require a qualifying offer. No more than four of the players to receive a qualifying offer can be veterans. After the August 1 deadline, players can sign with any team after a seven-day waiting period. The team that holds the rights to a player must match the competing contract offer within that week or lose the rights to the player.
I expect Kovacs, LaPorte, MacDonald, Parks, Warning, Harris, Panzarella, and Motte to receive qualifying offers. I don’t foresee Francis signing with a different team, and actually believe he either already has or will soon re-sign with the Mallards, so there’s no reason to offer him a qualifier.
Teams can now begin signing players for the 2017-18 season.