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Florida Roll Call: Future of Matt Kiersted with the Panthers

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Florida Panthers defenseman Matt Kiersted is congratulated by his teammates after scoring his first NHL goal against the Los Angeles Kings on Dec. 16. — Roger Lee Photographer (561) 866-2000

Here at Florida Hockey Now, we have looked at a variety of players and what their future roll is with the Florida Panthers.

When it comes to defenseman Matt Kiersted, things are definitely looking up.

On Monday, Kiersted signed his second contract with the Panthers.

Kiersted gets a two-year contract; this coming season is a two-way and it becomes a one-way in 2023-24.

With the Panthers close to the salary cap, Kiersted is likely in the plans for next season — and will be fighting for a roster spot during training camp.

Per capfriendly.com, Kiersted has a cap hit of $762,500 which will come in handy for the Panthers this coming season.

With his improvement as a player — he spent most of the season with AHL Charlotte after signing with the Panthers as an undrafted free agent out of North Dakota in 2021 — the Panthers look at him as a bottom pairing defenseman at least to start.

Kiersted also has a little NHL experience under his belt, playing in 10 games with the Panthers this past season after getting into seven soon after signing with the team.

The 24-year-old got his first NHL goal in the 4-1 loss to the Los Angeles Kings when the Panthers were extremely shorthanded due to a Covid breakout. He had an assist earlier against the Islanders for his first NHL point.

“I honestly couldn’t believe it in the beginning,” Kiersted said after getting that first goal.“Between the first and second periods, I had to pinch myself to make sure that it actually happened.

“It’s something you work your entire life for and to see all of the hard work you put in payoff in a way like that, it’s kind of tough to put into words of how I was feeling, but just very excited.”

In Charlotte, Kiersted had five goals and 20 points in 63 games. He also added a goal in seven playoff games with the Checkers.

Florida Panthers Roll Call is a recurring feature at Florida Hockey Now leading into the start of trade and free-agent season.

The NHL Draft begins July 7 in Montreal; the opening of free agency is July 13. 

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