Florida Panthers prospect Jayce Hawryluk has signed a three-year, entry-level contract, the team announced Tuesday. He was their 2nd round pick (32nd overall) in the 2014 draft.
The 20-year-old has played just 49 of 63 games for the Brandon Wheat Kings of the WHL, but sits just three points back from Nolan Patrick, a top 2017 draft prospect, for the team lead. Hawryluk has put up a very impressive 30 goals and 79 points in 49 contests.
His 79 points also ranks ninth overall in the WHL, with every player above him having played at least 61 games.
The contract will give him a home next season — or even at the end of this season, if Florida sends him to the Portland Pirates — when he’s likely to go pro.
His Wheat Kings have already clinched a playoff spot and currently sit atop the East Division. Tied for the most standings points in the Eastern Conference, they have a chance of making a serious run at a championship and opportunity at the Memorial Cup.
Florida is also said to be close to signing Dryden Hunt, who ranks second in scoring in the WHL with 102 points in 63 games. He’s an undrafted free agent.