The Florida Panthers are securing their future in net.
With training camps underway, the Panthers opted to solidify their crease for years to come, agreeing to terms with goaltender Spencer Knight on a three-year contract extension worth an average annual value of $4.5 million.
The deal, which ties Knight to Florida through the 2025-26 season, will kick in at the start of the 2023-24 season and ensure that Knight retains his status as a restricted free agent upon expiry, keeping his rights with the Panthers.
it's a lofty contract for such an unproven player.
Knight is among the most tantalizing goaltenders in the NHL among his peers, entering his second full season of duty despite being just 21 years old. The only hiccup, however, is that Knight has just 30 career starts under his belt at the moment and didn't exactly set the world on fire in 2021-22, finishing with a decent 19-9-3 record along with two shutouts and a .908 save percentage. Those are fine numbers, sure, but aren't exactly befitting of a $4.5 million goaltender.
What the Panthers are doing here is paying for future performance, banking on the fact that Knight will develop into the franchise netminder they see him being in the next year or so and therefore end up making a pittance compared to his abilities by the time the deal expires. That's a good bet to make based on Knight's pedigree. But it's still a bet nonetheless, and will also mean that the Panthers will have $14.5 million in cap space tied up between their goaltenders for the next three years, with Sergei Bobrovsky's current deal set to expire at the same time as Knight's.