The Florida Panthers have reached a deal with one of their 2019 draft picks, agreeing to terms with defenseman John Ludvig on a three-year entry-level contract. Ludvig plays for the Portland Winterhawks of the WHL and just finished an incredible season as captain. Panthers GM Dale Tallon released a statement on his newest prospect:
John had an outstanding season for Portland in the Western Hockey League and was among the league’s top defensemen. He is a talented defenseman who possesses great compete, physicality and character. We are excited for John’s continued development and look forward to his future in the Panthers organization.
For a player who was picked in the third round, you can’t expect a much better post-draft season than the one Ludvig just completed. After scoring just 25 points in his first two WHL seasons combined, the 19-year old defenseman exploded offensively this year and finished third among all defensemen with 62 points. Add in the level of physicality that Ludvig showed in his own end and the leadership skills he possesses and it’s easy to see why the Winterhawks sat at a league-leading 45-11-7 record at the time of the WHL cancelation.
Ludvig actually went undrafted in his first year of eligibility, meaning he’ll turn 20 this summer and is eligible for the AHL next season. Whether he will be assigned to the minor leagues or return to the CHL isn’t clear, but you can bet that the front office will keep a close eye on him as a potential impact player for the Panthers.