The Florida Panthers have agreed to terms on an entry-level contract with their top draft pick Owen Tippet, after rumors have swirled that he may make the team out of camp. The bonus structure hasn’t been released yet, but as the 10th-overall pick you can at least expect some Schedule A bonuses to be included in the deal.
PHR has been touting the value of Tippett for quite some time, and Dale Tallon has been clear with his excitement over the former Mississauga Steelhead. He released a statement on the signing today:
I’m thrilled to sign Owen to his first NHL contract. Owen is a natural goal scorer with a bright future and he already possesses NHL-ready size and speed. We’re looking forward to watching him compete for a spot on our NHL roster at training camp this fall.
Indeed, with the Panthers still only having 10 or 11 forwards penciled into their group due to their previous NHL experience, Tippett will be battling with several other prospects for the chance to break camp with the team. Scoring 44 goals last year in junior, Tippett is a budding power forward with a wicked wrist shot that already uses his body to create space for himself in the attacking zone. While he can get caught drifting around waiting for the puck instead of creating turnovers, he was one of the most dangerous players in the OHL last season with it on his stick.
So far, Florida has lost 74 goals this summer from the various departures of Jon Marchessault, Reilly Smith, Jaromir Jagr and Thomas Vanek, and will need to replace them somehow. The additions of Radim Vrbata and Evgeny Dadonov start that process, but giving Tippett a full-time role could close the gap even further. To do it, he’ll likely have to beat out prospects much older than him like Jared McCann or Henrik Haapala, not an easy task.