The Florida Panthers have missed the playoffs in seven of the last eight years, which has allowed them to stockpile some quality prospects with high draft picks.
Florida has done an excellent job building their team through the draft, starting with the 2011 Draft when they took Jonathan Huberdeau (No.3 overall) and Vincent Trocheck (No.64). Since then they’ve also drafted:
- 2012: Mike Matheson– D (No.23 Pick)
- 2013: Aleksander Barkov– C (No.2 Pick)
- 2014: Aaron Ekblad– C (No.1 Pick)
Now they wait for their next crop of young players to join their NHL team. Top prospects Henrik Borgstrom and Owen Tippett already have NHL experience and will play for the Panthers during the 2020 season. Aleksi Heponiemi and Gregori Denisenko are their next best forward prospects but are likely a year or two away still.
The Panthers need to start adding some top blueline prospects, so they could go with Philip Broberg or Cam York with the No.13 overall pick, but they also need a future No.1 netminder. So the options are endless for Panthers GM Dale Tallon.
With the No.13 Overall Pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, the Florida Panthers select…
Spencer Knight — G — United States 🇺🇸
From 1999-to-2005 there was a goaltender taken in the top-10 in every single draft. It was common to see goalies go that early for a long time but there were so many busts that NHL GM’s started to move away from it. The average draft position for the first goalie drafted from ’99-to-’05 was 4.14. From 2006-to-2018, that number has ballooned up to 28.39.
Seldom is there a goalie prospect that’s game is so strong that he warrants a top-15 pick these days, but Knight is that good. Knight has great size (6-foot-3, 198 lbs.) and has terrific lateral quickness to come across and make the big saves. What stands out most about Knight’s game is his calm demeanor. Knight always looks in control and doesn’t get caught out of position very often.
Knight is a polished prospect and the Panthers need someone like that. Roberto Luongo is entering his age-40 season, James Reimer is not capable of being an NHL No.1 netminder and Samuel Montembeault posted a sub-.900 SV% in the AHL this season.
Knight was 15-1-0 with a 2.21 GAA and .903 SV% in 16 USHL games with the USNT and also posted a 1.51 GAA and .936 SV% at the U18 World Juniors. He is committed to play at Boston College (NCAA) next season.
“A goalie prospect good enough to be selected by a team in the first round — and not just necessarily by one that has multiple first round picks.” — Sam Cosentino (Sportsnet.ca)
Spencer Knight is the best goaltending athlete USA Hockey has ever seen. He’s 6-(foot)-3, he’s one of our best off-ice testers. I’ve never described a goalie like this, but it’s like watching poetry in motion the way he moves around his crease. — John Wroblewski (USNTDP head coach)
- N/A— HockeyProspect.com
- #32 — Future Considerations
- N/A — ISS Hockey
- #1 — NHL Central Scouting (NA Goalies)
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