July 15: The Panthers have re-signed two of their remaining restricted free agents as goaltender Samuel Montembeault has signed a one-year, two-way deal, CapFriendly reports. The contract is worth his qualifying offer of just over $708K in the NHL and $70K in the AHL. Meanwhile, CapFriendly also notes that forward Jayce Hawryluk also accepted his qualifier worth a little more than $874K in the NHL and $70K in the minors.
Montembeault went into last season as the backup at the AHL level behind Michael Hutchinson but a decent showing from him allowed Florida to deal him to Toronto. The 22-year-old then got a look with the Panthers as Roberto Luongo and James Reimer dealt with injury issues and general struggles. He held his own in his time with Florida, posting a 3.04 GAA with a .894 SV% in 11 appearances. As things stand, he heads into next season as the frontrunner to be the backup to new starter Sergei Bobrovsky. However, as he’s still waiver-exempt, it’s quite possible that he will be back in the minors next year with the team bringing in another backup in the weeks to come.
Hawryluk also split last season between Florida and AHL Springfield. While he was quite productive with the Thunderbirds with 32 points in 31 games, he wasn’t able to come close to that type of success in the NHL. He suited up in 42 games with the Panthers but recorded only seven goals and five assists although his ice time was rather limited at only 9:26 per night. He’ll likely get a chance to reprise his role on the fourth line next season and if he fails to make the team, Hawryluk will have to pass it through waivers to make it back to the minors.