The Florida Panthers have reached an agreement with college free agent Patrick Giles, signing him to a two-year entry-level contract. PuckPedia reports the deal will carry a cap hit of $812.5K. The big forward played a handful of games for their AHL affiliate down the stretch after his four-year career at Boston College came to an end. General manager Bill Zito released a short statement:
Patrick is a physical and talented player and we are looking forward to his development within our Panthers organization.
Physical indeed, as Giles stands at an imposing 6’5″ and has started to learn to use that big frame at both ends of the rink. In his senior season with BC, he managed to score 15 goals in 37 games, mostly by being larger than much of his competition. That size will help him in the minor leagues, where he’ll continue his professional journey this year.
In 17 games with the Checkers, split between the regular season and playoffs, Giles registered three points and racked up nine penalty minutes. While he is certainly not a fighter, the Panthers have made it very clear this offseason that they want to get tougher as a team, and adding his size follows that idea.
Signing a player like this is just like playing a lottery ticket. There’s a real chance that Giles amounts to very little even in the minor leagues but if he can carve out a role as a bottom-six player, perhaps they can squeeze some NHL minutes out of another undrafted player. Remember, Mason Marchment was a big, undrafted winger that had a hard time finding much offensive success when he first hit the minor leagues – and he just received a four-year, $18MM contract with the Dallas Stars after breaking out with the Panthers last year.
Marchment’s slow development through the Toronto Maple Leafs system is a blueprint for Giles. He was nearly 26 by the time he became a regular in the NHL and had ground through a year in the ECHL and three more in the AHL.