Florida Panthers forward Lucas Wallmark has signed a one-year deal with CSKA Moscow in the Kontinental Hockey League. Wallmark was due to become a restricted free agent at the end of the 2020-21 season. News of his NHL departure broke via George Richards, publisher of Florida Hockey Now.
— George Richards (@GeorgeRichards) June 15, 2021
Lucas Wallmark leaves Panthers for KHL
This will be the second time that Wallmark has left the Panthers organization. He was acquired by Florida for the first time at the 2020 Trade Deadline, as part of a package deal that ultimately sent Vincent Trocheck to the Carolina Hurricanes. Wallmark’s first stint in Florida was brief. After the Islanders eliminated the Panthers in the Stanley Cup Qualifiers, Wallmark left and signed with the Chicago Blackhawks in free agency. However, he would later be traded back to Florida at the following deadline; Panthers’ general manager Bill Zito re-acquired Wallmark in a cap-maneuvring deal that paved the way for the Brandon Montour and Sam Bennett trades.
A fourth-round draft pick in 2014, Wallmark has played 197 NHL games, potting 23 goals and 59 points. During his time in Sunrise, the 25-year-old Swedish centre played only 11 regular-season games, scoring one goal and two points. He did not feature in the Panthers’ recent 4-2 First Round loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning.
What This Means Going Forward
Wallmark joins a team with a good pedigree in the world’s second-best professional hockey league; CSKA recently lost in this year’s Gargarin Cup Final, the KHL’s equivalent to the Stanley Cup Final. Although, they will need more production from the 25-year-old Swede, who has seemed out of sorts this last season. He hasn’t scored a goal since March 2020.
Of course, this deal isn’t set in stone. If Florida wanted to submit a qualifying offer, the team could retain Wallmark’s rights, because of his RFA status. However, it seems unlikely that they go down that route. After all, Wallmark played the fourth-fewest minutes per game among all Panthers skaters during the 2021 stretch run.
For now, at least, Lucas Wallmark seems KHL-bound.