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On comeback trail, Panthers G Spencer Knight loaned to AHL

The Florida Panthers loaned goaltender Spencer Knight to the AHL affiliate Charlotte Checkers on Friday.

The team reduced its training camp roster to 30 players ahead of next week’s regular-season opener at the Minnesota Wild. But Knight’s move was significant as the 22-year-old continues to make his way back to hockey after spending time in the NHL/NHL Players’ Association player assistance program.

Knight entered the assistance program last February and did not play for the remainder of the 2022-23 season. He revealed last month that he was diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder and had stepped away to focus on his mental health.

“I can still be the player I want to be, and I still believe I can be one of the best goalies in this league,” Knight told the Hockey News. “Maybe it’s this year, maybe it’s next year, maybe it’s in three years or four years or five years. I don’t know. I know what I’m capable of accomplishing. It was there before and it has been there the whole time.”

Knight was a first-round draft pick (13th overall) by Florida in 2019 and made his NHL debut at just 20 years and one day old.

Knight has played in 57 regular-season games (49 starts) over parts of three seasons while paired with Florida’s No. 1 goalie, Sergei Bobrovsky. He has a 32-17-6 record, a 2.91 goals-against average and a .906 save percentage for his young career.

Panthers coach Paul Maurice told reporters loaning Knight to Charlotte was the team’s plan before training camp had opened. Knight will play frequently as the No. 1 goalie in Charlotte, while Anthony Stolarz will serve as the backup to Bobrovsky.

“What’s best for Spencer Knight right now is also what’s best for the Florida Panthers long-term,” Maurice said. “He looked good in camp and we want to keep that going.”

–Field Level Media

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