1. Hampus Lindholm's entry level contract starts this year. He just played in his tenth NHL game, and in doing so removed all possibility of sliding his ELC forward another year. One school of thought says you play your best players, period. Another says you take as much time as possible with your young talent, not only to help them grow as players, but also to put your team in the best possible long-term cap situation. That's a very rigid dichotomy I just laid out, and obviously the best philosophy is somewhere between those two extremes. Whether or not this decision is best for Lindholm's future — and the future of the Ducks — is very much up for debate. I'll go ahead and agree with management on this one. The alternative is playing Mark Fistric until Luca Sbisa returns. That, or making a trade. Speaking of which . . .
2. The Ducks' cap space is somewhere between zero and nothing, per Capgeek. On Friday, Frederik Andersen signed a two-year extension that will pay him an averaged $1.15 million starting next season. Naturally, trade speculation surrounding Jonas Hiller has skyrocketed. Hiller is in the last year of his contract and carries a cap hit of $4.5 million, whereas Viktor Fasth counts for $2.9 against the cap, and he's signed through 2014-15. The tough part is that Hiller has been in this league much longer than Fasth has, and we know exactly what we're going to get from him. Fasth, on the other hand, has yet to prove that last year wasn't a long hot streak. I'll only be happy with a Hiller trade if two things are true: First, Fasth has to play really well once he comes back from injury. And second, the return has to help the team now. Picks and prospects aren't going to cut it.
3. Peter Holland scored a goal. It was a lucky goal, a misplay by Sergei Bobrovsky, so I'm not going to read too much into it. He's going to get his chance, now that Mathieu Perreault and Saku Koivu are injured. Perreault should be back soon, but Koivu may be out for a while. This is the opportunity Holland needs to get his career on track. Stay tuned and watch number 74.
4. Kyle Palmieri has to step up. Before Dustin Penner, Jakob Silfverberg, Perreault, and Koivu went down, Palmieri's relative lack of production was easy to ignore. Now, he needs to score some goals with that potentially lethal shot. Those losses in Toronto and Montreal were largely the products of turnovers and defensive breakdowns, but a timely goal from a "depth" player could have made a big difference. Palmieri is currently being outscored by names like Andrew Cogliano, Daniel Winnik, and Bryan Allen. Yes, Bryan Allen. (Props to Allen, by the way, for playing very solid defense thus far.)
5. Francois Beauchemin is getting healthier. At least, that's what it looks like. He's more mobile now than he was when the season began, and he is back to his old bone-crunching ways. What a beauty this one was.