Every year, teams and fans fall over themselves trying to find the next undrafted college free agent that can make an impact in the NHL. More often than not, those players struggle at the next level and are quickly out of the league. That’s exactly the case for Alec Rauhauser, who was not issued a qualifying offer by the Florida Panthers this offseason after his entry-level contract expired. The defenseman has now signed a contract with the ECHL’s Greenville Swamp Rabbits for 2021-22.
In March 2020 when he was signed, the Panthers general manager was still Dale Tallon. At the time, Tallon called Rauhauser a “skilled two-way defenseman” who had proven himself at the college level. Unfortunately for him, it seemed that Bill Zito, who took over the Panthers a few months later, didn’t see it the same way. Rauhauser would be loaned to Slovakia before being stashed in the ECHL for nearly the entire season, where he played 57 games with the Swamp Rabbits.
Now 26, it seems likely that Rauhauser will not receive another NHL contract. That doesn’t mean he won’t work his way up to the AHL level, but for now, he’s heading for the low minors to spend his second professional season.