With the 88th overall pick in the 2015 NHL draft, the Florida Panthers selected defenseman Thomas Schemitsch. A member of the Owen Sound Attack (OHL) at the time, the Cats definitely had to be impressed with the big guy’s offensive abilities.
When he was just 16, Schemitsch would make the move from forward to defenseman. His great skating and playmaking abilities gave him a boost on top of being a big, imposing presence on the ice.
The following season he’d make the team and play in 68 games for the Attack, 5 in which being playoff games. Schemitsch would put up 6 goals and 11 assists on the campaign, with one goal and one assist in the playoffs before being eliminated in the first round.
Schemitsch’s second season with Owen Sound would be his best one. He’d score 14 goals and rack up 35 assists, while playing 73 games. It would unfortunately end in another first round loss Guelph Storm.
That same year he was taken by the Florida Panthers in the third round of the Entry Draft.
In 2015-16 Schemitsch would suffer a broken wrist, causing him to miss the first 15 games of the season. He’d still register 9 goals and 22 assists on the season and another 4 assists in yes again, a first round exit for the Attack.
The young defenseman would also see some time in the ECHL with the Manchester Monarchs. Playing in 17 regular season games he put up a goal and 7 assists and would join the team for the playoffs as well.
In a long 16 game playoff run he’d register 6 points, all assists with the Monarchs. Offensively Schemitsch is already very well developed, there’s room for improvement in the defensive end.
Given the right time to develop he could become a great asset to the Panthers. He fits the mold of skilled, play making defenseman the Cats want to go with.
Schemitsch also offers a big body at the blue line. Hopefully with some more AHL time he will be able to work that to his advantage defensively.