The Florida Panthers have agreed to terms with Justin Sourdif on his three-year, entry-level contract. The young forward was one of the team’s 2020 draft selections and is at training camp with the team currently. The deal will carry a cap hit of $870K in the NHL according to CapFriendly. Panthers GM Bill Zito released a short statement on his newest player:
Justin is a dynamic forward who plays the game with speed and skill. He demonstrated his abilities as a playmaker in the WHL and we look forward to his development within our organization.
Sourdif, 19, was the 87th player selected last October, and spent this season back with his WHL Vancouver Giants. It was something of a breakout campaign for the right-handed forward, who scored 11 goals and 34 points in 22 games. That was the first time Sourdif had even been a point-per-game player at the junior level, signaling just how much of a jump he has made since his draft. He was even one of the players invited to Canada’s World Junior camp this summer, though the forward group for the upcoming tournament is going to be difficult to crack.
It’s not that a breakout was totally unforeseen. Sourdif had obvious talent, but his consistency wavered at times during the early part of his junior career. Despite just 54 points in 57 games during his draft year, he was still ranked 23rd among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting. Some even believed he could be a late first-round selection if a team fell in love with the offensive upside, though he eventually did fall to the third round. If the Panthers can develop that talent correctly, there’s a chance they could have an impact player on their hands. That is still several years down the road though, as Sourdif will return to the WHL this season to build on that shortened 2020-21 campaign.