SUNRISE — Florida Panthers goalie Spencer Knight will be taking a personal leave of absence from the team and will be getting care from the NHL/NHLPA player assistance program.
The player assistance program is “available to all players and their families. The program aids those who are going through mental health, substance abuse or other issues.”
Knight is not believed to be dealing with a drug or alcohol related issue.
There is no timeline for Knight’s return.
Per the release from the NHLPA and the NHL: Under the terms of the joint program, Knight will continue to be paid while receiving treatment. He will return to the Club when cleared for on-ice competition by the program administrators.
”We are all concerned about Spencer’s wellbeing,’’ Jordan Neumann, the agent for Knight told FHN on Friday afternoon. “The organization has been outstanding and cooperative every step of the way. We are looking forward to him returning to play in the near future.”
Knight was originally assigned to the team’s American Hockey League affiliate in Charlotte on Wednesday but his gear was still spotted outside the Panthers’ locker room on Thursday afternoon. Apparently, Knight was planning on meeting the Checkers in Providence for their game on Friday night.
Now, the transaction sending Knight to the AHL has been revoked; Alex Lyon will remain with the Panthers for the foreseeable future.
In the past, players who have joined the program have not counted against a team’s salary cap.
Florida coach Paul Maurice was asked about Knight on Thursday and he only spoke about Knight going down to the AHL to get some games in.
Knight has been dealing with illness and an injury since December.
“It is so much uniquely schedule based and then kind of sickness and health based for him,” Florida coach Paul Maurice said.
”He just didn’t get into the net and now we’re home for a month and we have these big block of days. Sergei plays a big hand in this because he’s played so well, it’s his ball.
“Spencer needs to get a bunch of reps here. He needs to get a bunch of pucks shot at him. So we have until the two four-game weeks we’ve got at the end of March when we’ll need two goaltenders to play. Leading into that, there’s a schedule that says ‘you’ve got a guy hot, run him’.”
PANTHERS ON DECK
BUFFALO SABRES AT FLORIDA PANTHERS
- When: Friday, 7 p.m.
- Where: FLA Live Arena, Sunrise
- TV/Streaming: Bally Sports Florida; ESPN+
- Radio: WPOW 96.5-FM2; WBZT 1230-AM (Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); SiriusXM
- Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932
- Season Series (Florida leads 2-0): Panthers 4, Sabres 3 (Oct. 15); Panthers 4, Sabres 1 (Jan. 16)
- Last season: Florida won 3-0
- All-time regular season series: Florida leads 53-44-8, 4 ties
- Up Next for the Panthers: Feb. 28 at Tampa Bay, 7 p.m.