The Florida Panthers were back on the ice last week as they held development camp at the IceDen. There were plenty of great stories to be found among the prospects, but the headliner of the week was Spencer Knight.
On Monday afternoon, the 22-year-old goalie skated out for a Panthers’ sanctioned workout for the first time since leaving the team in February to enter the NHL/NHLPA players’ assistance program.
Knight had to ask the league for a special exemption to join the Florida youngsters as he wanted to get back to South Florida and return to hockey-related activities with the team.
Although he did not participate in the camp-ending scrimmage held Friday morning, Knight appeared to have fun during the week in being a veteran player whom many of the youngsters searched out.
“It has been great, just coming back down here and being in a familiar area,” Spencer Knight said on Wednesday when he spoke publicly for the first time since February.
“I knew a couple of these guys already whether it was former teammates or guys I have played against. It’s good to see them, meet a few new faces. It’s a really good time here. … Seeing some familiar faces like trainers, coaches, the guys. It is fun. Honestly, what I think about hockey is the faces and the people. I think that gets overlooked when it is all said and done.”
Knight was just one of the big stories to come out of the development camp — and there are more still to be told in the coming weeks.
The Panthers will not be back on the ice in an official capacity until rookie camp opens sometime in September so we have plenty of time to tell them.
But if you missed what happened this week at d-camp, never fear, here you go:
— Who stood out the most at development camp?
— Speaking of Spencer Knight, Roberto Luongo was on hand for the camp as his goalie development program with the Panthers continues to pay dividends.
— Owen Brady has been through more than anyone could ever fathom, yet he still had the biggest smile at Florida Panthers development camp.
The 20-year-old defenseman earned an invitation to camp after winning a battle with cancer. He belonged.
“I feel like I deserve it. I worked really hard for this,” Brady said.
— Mackie Samoskevich, Florida’s first-round pick in 2021, will be at training camp in a few months after leaving the University of Michigan and is looking to be on the Opening Night roster.
Can he make it? Why not?
— Forward Owen Lindmark is returning to Wisconsin for his fifth season and had a big test on Saturday morning after wrapping up camp on Friday. Hope he aced it.
— Skyler Brind’Amour, son of Rod, will be in Carolina this season after signing a two-year deal with the Charlotte Checkers after winning the national title with Quinnipiac. He was well on his way to making a name for himself at d-camp with his Panthers.
FLORIDA PANTHERS ON DECK
- Now: Free agency period is open
- Mid-September: Training Camp, South Florida
- Sept. 25: Preseason starts; Doubleheader v. Nashville @ Sunrise
- Oct. 7: Preseason ends; v. Tampa Bay Lightning @ Sunrise
- Oct. 12: Start of 2023-24 Regular Season at Minnesota Wild
- Oct. 19: 2023-24 Home Opener vs. Toronto Maple Leafs