Another University of Denver forward has decided to turn pro, as Henrik Borgstrom has signed a three-year entry-level contract with the Florida Panthers. DU was eliminated from the NCAA tournament this weekend, meaning Borgstrom is free to start his professional career.
Borgstrom, 20, was selected 23rd-overall by the Panthers in 2016 after starring in the Finnish junior leagues, and immediately became a dominant presence in the collegiate ranks. Able to stickhandle his way out of trouble, Borgstrom is an elite offensive talent that can protect the puck and find his way through traffic to generate scoring opportunities. He’d be successful even as an undersized player, but stands 6’3″ 195-lbs and has improved his physicality over the last year. He’ll likely be a full-time player for the Panthers in short order, but could really become a key member of their forward group if he continues to round out his game and compete in the defensive end.
After just two seasons in the NCAA, Borgstrom was named NCHC Player of the Year and is a finalist for the Hobey Baker award. He was also one of the most asked about prospects at the trade deadline, as GM Dale Tallon explained earlier this month. In the release announcing the signing Tallon spoke again about his prize prospect:
Henrik is a highly-talented, exciting and dynamic young forward who has been a dominant player over his last two seasons in Denver. In a short time he has put together an accomplished career in the college game, including a national championship. We are thrilled to have him take the next step in his development with the Panthers. Henrik’s addition to our skilled, young core of players further strengthens our foundation for success for years to come.
The young core that Tallon mentions is getting more impressive every day. Led by 22-year old Aleksander Barkov, who has morphed into a legitimate MVP candidate, and supported by others like Jonathan Huberdeau and Vincent Trocheck, the Panthers have a group that seems destined for some playoff appearances even if they miss out again this season. With Borgstrom, Owen Tippett and Aleksi Heponiemi ready to make an impact before long, that group could be one of the most dangerous in the NHL in the offensive zone.