The Florida Panthers have re-signed defenceman Brady Keeper to a one-year deal. The two-way deal will take Keeper through 2020-21. The contract will carry a cap hit of just over $874,000. The team announced the extension early Monday morning.
#FlaPanthers re-sign defenseman Brady Keeper to a one-year, two-way contract.
— Florida Panthers (@FlaPanthers) August 31, 2020
Panthers Extend Brady Keeper
Keeper spent most of the season with Florida’s AHL affiliate in Springfield. The 24-year-old scored six goals and 18 points in 61 games before the season was shut down. 2019-20 was Keeper’s first season in the AHL. He was previously a member of the University of Maine team for two seasons where he scored 13 goals and 44 points in 73 games. Keeper debuted in 2018-19. He has one regular season game and one playoff game under hit belt with no points.
Keeper went undrafted out of Maine but he might have a future as a part-time option on the blue line. He does have four hits and three blocks in two NHL games. The Panthers have most of their blueline under control for next season but there could be room for Keeper if he can continue acting as a decent penalty-kill option. The most notable thing about Keeper not related to his play on the ice is that he is the first person of the Pimicikamak Cree Nation to play in the NHL.
What This Means for the Future
Keeper has decent size at 6’0″, 195-pounds but it’s still hard to imagine him being a major factor in 2020-21 or beyond. The Panthers have only one unrestricted free agent on defence for this offseason in the form of Mark Pysyk. However, Florida could decide to trim salary in an effort to increase financial flexibility. Keeper would be a very cheap option at the NHL level if Florida did indeed trade one of its more expensive defenders. A flat cap of $81.5 million for next season will force teams to save money wherever they are able.