The Florida Panthers are currently three points out of the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference with a record of 26-23-6 (58 points), trailing the Pittsburgh Penguins who have 61 points. They have won a couple of tough battles and seemed to have emerged as a potential playoff candidate as expected this past offseason.
One of the pieces they acquired earlier this season to help their defense was former Anaheim Ducks defenseman Josh Mahura. With his exceptional performance this year, he earned himself a new one-year, $950,000 extension with the Panthers.
Josh joined our club just prior the start of the season and we felt his positive impact on our defensive group immediately…He brings consistency and energy to our blueline.Panthers general manager Bill Zito on defenseman Josh Mahura
With that, the Panthers now have all of their current roster defensemen locked up for next season except for Radko Gudas and Marc Staal. They have finally found another defensive piece they can rely on every single night.
Mahura’s Time as a Panther Has Been Successful
Since being acquired through the waiver wire, Mahura has played in all 54 games, scoring four goals and assisting on seven others. In addition, he has a plus-13 rating, which is the fourth-highest on the team and the second-highest among all Panthers’ defensemen.
Related: 3 Panthers Improvements That Must Be Made in the Second Half
Latest News & Highlights
This comes after four seasons of not much success with the team that drafted him back in 2016. Through his time there, he only had 20 points (six goals, 14 assists) and a minus-17 rating.
“Now that I have a new contract, I’m excited to keep pushing forward with the Panthers. Even though I wasn’t really thinking about it, there’s really no need to look ahead now. All of the focus right now is on finishing this year strong. I just want to help the team compete for the playoffs.” – Josh Mahura on his new contract extension with the Panthers.
Zito Strikes Gold on the Waiver Wire Again
This is not the first time the Panthers and their general manager Bill Zito have lucked out with a waiver wire pickup. Defenseman Gustav Forsling was placed on waivers by the Carolina Hurricanes in 2021 and was picked up by the Cats before the start of that season. Since then, he signed a contract extension in the summer of 2021 for the next three years and is plugged into their top four every single night.
Zito is really taking the saying “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” to heart as he’s made other teams’ throwaways seem like steals for the Panthers.
Can Mahura Continue His Strong Performance?
Mahura earned his new deal. But, it’s clear that this is a “show me” type move, considering how short it is. The front office and coaching staff clearly looked deeper into his time with the Ducks and want to make sure his performance this season isn’t just a fluke or a one-year wonder.
Related: Panthers are Winning the Matthew Tkachuk Trade
Nevertheless, Mahura has been a diamond in the rough for the Panthers. It’s clear that he’s never been happier than where he is right now, and they need someone who’s willing to stick around for a big playoff push.
The most important thing for me was to come back here, not just go and play anywhere. This is where I want to be. This is a team that took a chance on me. They let me be myself and play my game. I’m just happy to stay put and know that I’m sticking around with these guys.Josh Mahura on staying with the Panthers
The Panthers’ defense does have issues that have plagued them all season from injuries to under performing. Despite all that, Mahura managed to keep his head up and play at his best. It’s no wonder he was awarded a new contract to stay in Broward County.