Florida Panthers Sign Anton Lundell to Entry-Level Contract
The Florida Panthers have signed Anton Lundell to an entry-level contract. Lundell is a 6’1”, 190 lb. center from Espoo, Finland. Lundell was drafted 12th overall in the first round of the 2020 NHL draft. The Panthers drafted Lundell as a player who would think two or three steps ahead of his opponent. He is capable of using this methodical approach to his advantage when battling for pucks.
Lundell has signed with the Panthers the day after leading Finland in points in the IIHF Men’s World Championship. Finland won a silver medal at the 2021 IIHF World Championship behind Canada. Lundell recorded a team-leading four goals and seven points in 10 games as Finland’s captain at the 2021 IIHF World Championship. Lundell also earned a gold helmet while playing in Finland, which signifies that he led his team in scoring.
Anton Lundell made his debut for Finland at the IIHF World Championship at only 19 years old. He has plenty of time to grow into a more physically mature player. Lundell has the upside to become a number one center and a contender for a Selke Trophy as the forward with the most skill.
General manager of the Florida Panthers Bill Zito recently said that ‘Anton is a cerebral, skilled and dynamic young player who continuously established himself in Finland’s top league and played a pivotal role on Finland’s national teams at all levels…We are thrilled to have signed Anton and look forward to his future with the Florida Panthers for years to come.’
This skill set will likely mean that Lundell can compete for a roster spot as the Florida Panthers open up training camp in September of 2021. This is a date that the league hopes to get the 2021-2022 NHL season started. This means that the NHL will play hockey every month of 2021. Whether or not Lundell is on the Panthers roster for any of this season remains to be seen. It would not be unheard of for a young player like Lundell to start his career in the minor leagues.
Why were the Florida Panthers able to start off the 2020-2021 season on such a hot start? They began the season seemingly out of nowhere. The Panthers ended the 2019-2020 season with a loss to the New York Islanders in the qualifying playoff round in four games. The Florida Panthers executives had to know that the team needed to change in order to move forward in the playoffs.
The Florida Panthers had many players playing like superstars during the 2020-2021 season. Captain Aleksander Barkov played like a leader on the ice, but also led the team off the ice. Barkov scored seven goals and added 12 assists in 17 games played for the Panthers.
Whatever Lundell can add to the Florida Panthers roster is likely to be “whipped cream” on the top of the sundae. Jonathan Huberdeau played on the first powerplay unit scoring 23 points in 17 games played. He has done this under the radar for the Panthers while everyone is focused on Aleksander Barkov. Huberdeau is the longest tendered player on the Florida Panthers roster.
Veteran Patric Hornqvist is the third player on this powerplay unit on the right-wing. Hornqvist is not like the other players on the Florida Panthers roster. Drafted 230th overall out of Sollentuna, Sweden, Hornqvist is a two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Lundell will need to work hard in order to crack the Florida Panthers roster. The 19-year-old has all the talent to do this. He is a smart center that has used his high hockey IQ to play at the top level in Finland. The Florida Panthers can use this high IQ player to advance further in the NHL playoffs.
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