The Florida Panthers have signed Juho Lammikko to a one-year, two-way contract, bringing him back into the organization. Lammikko played last season overseas but the Panthers had retained his exclusive RFA rights by issuing him a qualifying offer. He was recently playing in the KHL with Magnitogorsk but terminated his contract a few days ago, likely in order to return to North America. CapFriendly reports that the deal is worth $725K at the NHL level.
Lammikko, 24, actually played 40 games for the Panthers in 2018-19, serving as the team’s fourth-line center for the first half of the year. Unfortunately he wasn’t able to score a single goal during that time, recording just six assists in his limited minutes. Perhaps that’s why the 6’2″ forward returned to Finland, where he showed he can be much more than a defensive presence, scoring 22 goals and 51 points in just 57 games for Karpat. Things haven’t gone quite as smoothly through 22 games in the KHL, but there should still be some hope that Lammikko can make it back to the NHL.
The question will be whether he can log 40 games this season, given the reduced schedule and different looking Panthers depth chart. If he doesn’t, Lammikko would become a Group VI unrestricted free agent in 2021 (though the playing time requirements could be tweaked if the league plays a drastically reduced season).