CORAL SPRINGS — There was no sense of urgency when it came to the Florida Panthers and goalie Spencer Knight getting a contract extension done right now.
It is not like Knight is going anywhere.
Knight, 21, is in the final year of his entry-level contract with the Panthers and the team will control the goaltender’s contractual rights for the next five seasons.
An extension would not have been needed until following this season.
Still, both the Panthers and Knight wanted to get something done sooner-than-later and announced a three-year extension worth an average of $4.5 million per season on Tuesday.
For Knight, getting the deal done now means less things he has to worry about.
Truthfully, though, it does not sound like he was sweating it all that much. Nor should he have been.
”It feels good. It’s one of those things where it is nice to come to the rink and just play, focus on having fun playing hockey,’’ Knight said following Wednesday’s morning practice at the IceDen.
“That is what I love to do. I am very grateful it got done before the season. When you come to the rink, you just want to play and be with the guys, just have fun. That’s why I am so grateful it is done before the season so I can do that.”
The new contract sets Knight up rather handsomely moving forward. He is currently making a base salary of just under $1 million with performance bonuses which could push his total compensation for this season around $2.5 million.
Based off this season’s contracts, Knight is getting starter money starting next year with a salary which ranks him in the top 25 among NHL goalies.
With Sergei Bobrovsky having a $10 million cap hit for the entirety of Knight’s extension, Florida will almost assuredly have the highest paid goalie tandem in the league next season.
The Panthers made a solid financial commitment to Knight, one which shows how important he is to the future of the organization.
”I think there is a lot of great stuff going on here,” he said. “I’m really fortunate to be a part of it. That being said, nothing is guaranteed still. I know that. I still need to come to the rink and, not prove to everyone else but to myself. I have my own standards.’’
As expected, the Panthers made a number of roster moves following the doubleheader in Nashville on Monday with six players being sent back to their junior teams.
Florida’s training camp roster is now at 49 players — not counting the injured Anthony Duclair.
The junior returns: Forwards Liam Arnsby, Josh Davies and Sandvis Vilmanis as well as defensemen Marek Alscher, Evan Nause and Braden Hache.
Tonight’s game group vs. Carolina! pic.twitter.com/92fJUlZauS
— Florida Panthers (@FlaPanthers) September 29, 2022
— Due to heavy rains in the area on Tuesday and Wednesday from Hurricane Ian, some parking lots at FLA Live Arena had a lot of standing water forcing the main entrance to close.
As of Thursday morning, the water had receded and all entrances were open.
Parking is free for tonight’s game.
The Panthers will also donate a portion of their 50/50 raffle proceeds from tonight’s game to benefit Hurricane Ian relief efforts across the state.
— Justin Sourdif is still not practicing with the team but was on the ice working out with Riley Nash on Wednesday.
FLORIDA PANTHERS PRESEASON
Tonight: Carolina Hurricanes (1-0) at Florida Panthers (1-1)
When: 7 p.m.
Where: FLA Live Arena, Sunrise