Minnesota Wild Signs Brody Hoffman And Zach Palmquist


One week after signing Grayson Downing, the Wild have dipped into the college free agent pool again, signing Minnesota State defenseman Zach Palmquist and University of Vermont goaltender Brody Hoffman to entry-level contracts (ELC). As both are 24, they each received a one-year ELC, the maximum allowed, and will become restricted free agents (RFAs) in the summer of 2016.

Hoffman finished his junior season at the University of Vermont with a 13-6-2 record and a .922 Sv%. He also had a 2.06 GAA, which ranked second in Hockey East and 18th overall in the NCAA. He’s got good size, something that’s become a standard with Wild goaltenders, at 6-foot-4, 205 pounds.

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As messy as the Wild goaltending situation is, you can see the allure of Minnesota for a college free agent. The expectation is that the team re-signs Devan Dubnyk, buys out the remaining year on Niklas Backstrom‘s contract, and that Darcy Kuemper won’t get a chance to prove himself in a game situation again until next season.

In Iowa the team has favored John Curry (UFA this summer), who isn’t a part of any solution for the team’s future, over Johan Gustafsson (RFA this summer), who has struggled mightily the last two seasons leaving questions as to how much of a future he has with the organization. This year, Gustafsson is 8-20-1 with a .895 Sv%, a touch worse than last year’s .905 Sv%.

Goaltending is needed in the organization, even if Kaapo Kahkonen or Steve Michalek makes the jump to the AHL this off-season, which seems unlikely with Kahkonen being just 18. There are no guarantees at that position and few opportunities to audition guys. Giving Hoffman a deal while Kahkonen, Michalek, and Belanger develop for another year seems like a logical move and gives the team the best opportunity to find their next netminder through development.

Palmquist was an alternate captain and fourth in scoring on a solid Minnesota State Mavericks squad. He finished his senior season with eight goals and 21 assists in 40 games. Palmquist, a native of South St. Paul (#OneOfUs), is 6-foot, 175 pounds and played a school-record 160 straight games, posting 25 goals and 71 assists in that span.

That is tied for 1st among Minnesota State defensemen in the Division I-era (since 1996-97). He was named to the All-WCHA First Team both last year and this year.

Palmquist will join the Iowa Wild to finish out the season, Hoffman will not, according to Michael Russo of the Star Tribune.

Next: Kaapo Kahkonen Scores a Goal

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