Before a summer full of inevitable transactions, we are getting a sweet little taste — some transaction hors d’oeuvres — in the middle of the playoffs.
Announced by the team on Monday afternoon, the Minnesota Wild have signed prospect Pavel Novak to a three-year, entry-level contract that will start next season.
The 20-year-old Czech winger was drafted in the fifth round of the 2020 NHL Draft at 146th overall, and is yet another hopeful offensive tool that the Wild can add to their bulging cupboard of young players. While playing for the WHL’s Kelowna Rockets this past season, Novak scored 29 goals and 72 points in 62 games. His numbers won’t surprise you or are really, necessarily good considering his age and what league he’s playing in, but he is hopefully going to be a consistent contributor in the minors and will develop further under the tutelage of Tim Army and his staff in AHL Iowa.
Minnesota selected just five players in the 2020 draft, after moving around some picks and trying to get higher up the board, and it seems like they might get a decent haul now. Leading the charge is, of course, top prospect Marco Rossi as we await his first full taste in the NHL (next season), but in addition to the star power at the top, there is a healthy supporting cast of Marat Khusnutdinov, who will remain overseas until at least 2024; and defensemen Ryan O’Rourke and Daemon Hunt, who have both signed their entry-level contracts and will be on Iowa’s blue line next season.
In Judd Brackett’s first draft in Minnesota, he didn’t get to have a lot of picks, but among them, there are some finds and now all of them are going to be signed to contracts — barring any catastrophe involving Khusnutdinov in a couple years.