Panthers Sign Michael Downing

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.

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.