The Florida Panthers have signed 2013 4th round draft pick (97th overall) Michael Downing to a three-year, entry-level contract, the team announced Tuesday. The deal carries an AAV of $727,500, according to Cap Friendly, who also notes that the deal also carries a games played bonus.
Downing finished his third year at Michigan over the weekend, when they were eliminated by the University of North Dakota.
— Florida Panthers PR (@FlaPanthersPR) March 29, 2016
The 6-foot-2 defenseman put up 20-plus points in each of his last two seasons with Michigan. He has a nice offensive touch, but there are questions about his ability to play responsibly in the defensive zone.
Even outside of decision-making issues without the puck, he has a tendency to try and blow up the opposition rather than separate them from the puck and make a sound play. This season he received three game misconducts, which led to him having to sit out a game. He also had a two-game and a one-game suspension for hits to the head over the course of the season.
Nonetheless, there’s ability there and he’ll begin looking to make an impact immediately. He’ll be playing with the Portland Pirates of the AHL for the remainder of the season on an amateur tryout (ATO), with his ELC kicking in at the start of the 2016-17 season.
Dustin Nelson is the News Editor for The Hockey Writers. He’s a contributor to Hockey Prospectus, Hockey Wilderness, and writes a column for Rotowire. He’s also written for Gone Puck Wild, Wild Xtra, InDigest, Electric Literature, The Rumpus, Tiny Mix Tapes, Prefix Magazine & other publications. Have a tip? Email him at dlukenelson[at]gmail[dot]com.