After reports emerged yesterday, the Florida Panthers have made it official. Max Gildon has agreed to terms with the club on a three-year entry-level contract. After recently completing his sophomore season at the University of New Hampshire, Gildon will turn pro and start the next chapter of his career in Sunrise. Panthers GM Dale Tallon released a statement about his newest prospect:
Max is a dynamic and exciting young defenseman who possesses size and skill and plays the game with an edge. Since beginning his collegiate career, he has been a key player for the University of New Hampshire and has been a leader for his team. We are thrilled for Max to take the next step in his development with the Panthers.
There’s no doubt that Gildon is ready to test himself at the next level. After being selected 66th overall in 2017, the 6’3″ defenseman has simply dominated his college competition. Mix 73 points in 101 games with a strong, physical presence in his own end and you get a player that looks like an NHL contributor. While there may still be development time in the plan for the 20-year old, you can bet he’s excited about the opportunity the Florida depth chart may present.
Sure, the Panthers currently have eight defensemen on the NHL roster and acquired Chase Priskie at the deadline, but that doesn’t exactly tell the whole story. Mark Pysyk and Mike Matheson had been playing forward for the team, and while the latter has a long-term contract there’s a real chance they could both be in a different organization at the start of the 2020-21 campaign. MacKenzie Weegar and Josh Brown are both restricted free agents, while Riley Stillman is just starting to prove himself at the NHL level.
There could be real ice time to be won in Florida next season and Gildon should have a good chance to earn some of it.