After having already moved RFA defenseman T.J. Brennan last week, the Florida Panthers continued their already active 2013 off-season on Tuesday when it was announced that the team had shipped prospect Corban Knight to the Calgary Flames in exchange for a 4th round pick in this year’s entry draft.
Selected 135th overall in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, the once forgettable Knight really came into his own this past season playing his Senior year with the University of North Dakota, proving he may just have what it takes to be an NHL regular. Steadily improving throughout his collegiate career, Knight’s Senior season was filled with great success – finishing tied for 7th in National scoring with a career-high 48 points, including a career-high 33 assists. Although he has the ability to score, Knight really stood out in the assist column this year as his 33 assists put him tied for second nationally and his 24 first assists leads all skaters in men’s Division 1 hockey.
To add to his already impressive accolades, Knight was honored as the national college hockey player for the month of December after scoring a team-leading 11 points (6G 5A) in 5 games while also earning a +9 rating and winning 61.1% of his face-offs. However, even with all of his success this past season, it seemed that Knight and the Panthers may have not been the best match for each other.
In a recent interview with Jason Gregor of the Edmonton Journal, former University of North Dakota Star and current Panther prospect Corban Knight expressed his desire to cut ties with the organization either via trade or free agency.
“After my season finished, we had talks with Florida and negotiations took place, but it turned out it wasn’t going to work out for both parties. We told Florida we were going to wait until free agency (Aug. 15) or a trade,” explained Knight.
One of the main reasons for Knight’s severing ties with the Panthers was the team’s abundance of talented prospects at the center position. Even if the Panthers fail to get top center prospect Nathan Mackinnon in this year’s draft, young skaters like Drew Shore, Vincent Trocheck, and Nick Bjugstad would still be well ahead of Knight on the team’s depth chart.
With the completion of this deal the Panthers now own 3 picks in the 4th round – the 92nd, 97th, and 98th overall selections. This bounty of draft picks should give the team a lot of wiggle room during the upcoming draft as the team could potentially look to package some of these picks in a larger trade.
To see all of the action unfold, tune in to the 2013 NHL on Sunday, June 30th. NBC Sports Network will present live coverage starting at 3 p.m. ET, while NHL Network in the U.S. continues live coverage starting at 8 p.m. ET.
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