Florida Panthers Should Re-Sign Curtis Valk to an Extension

SUNRISE, FL - NOVEMBER 14: Curtis Valk #14 of the Florida Panthers skates on the ice in his first NHL game against the Dallas Stars at the BB&T Center on November 14, 2017 in Sunrise, Florida. (Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images)
SUNRISE, FL - NOVEMBER 14: Curtis Valk #14 of the Florida Panthers skates on the ice in his first NHL game against the Dallas Stars at the BB&T Center on November 14, 2017 in Sunrise, Florida. (Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images) /

Following a spectacular, MVP-like 2017-18 season with the underachieving Springfield Thunderbirds, impending restricted free agent Curtis Valk will be looking for an extension.

Should Florida Panthers’ General Manager Dale Tallon make a concentrated effort in potentially re-signing the sensational AHL playmaker, as means of retaining a valuable depth piece and contributing tremendously towards the T-Birds’ overall success?

Signed as a UFA by the Florida Panthers during the 2017 NHL offseason, play-making centerman Curtis Valk was widely considered an afterthought regarding earning a 2018 opening day lineup spot.

While spending practically the entirety of the 2016-17 pro-hockey campaign playing for the Utica Comets, the undersized, 5’9″ ft. centerman registered a respectable slash line of 16G, 30A, combining for 46 points, while participating in 75 AHL regular season games.

However, Valk was frequently buried underneath the depth chart, hardly receiving any opportunities for sustained success, as he played alongside mediocre linemates and received limited playing time. Despite producing comparatively adequate numbers as an AHLer, Curtis never received a promotion nor warranted a consideration for a role as a Vancouver Canuck.

Subsequently, upon hitting free agency on July 1st, 2017, Dale Tallon took a major flier on the desperate Canadian-born center, inking Valk to a one-year, entry-level contract. Tallon’s investment was viewed as a low-risk, high-reward type situation, considering Valk was playing under a relatively inexpensive, short-term deal.

More from Editorials

Once training camp commenced, Curtis noticeably turned various heads, making an outstanding first impression on Panthers’ management and coaching staff. Although Valk performed exceptionally well in training camp, the Canadian native was re-assigned to FLA’s AHL affiliate, known as the Springfield Thunderbirds.

As a T-Bird, Valk was presented with a glorious opportunity, receiving high-end minutes on a game-by-game basis. In Springfield’s first 16 regular season affairs, Curtis Valk accumulated a grand total of 15 points, posting nearly a point-per-game.

In essence, Valk’s sensational scoring rate in the AHL rightfully earned himself an NHL call-up. The former Medicine Hat Tigers’ phenom of the WHL officially debuted as a Florida Panther on November 14th, 2017. In Valk’s brief tenure with the professional club, he failed to make an impression, receiving a subsequent demotion following one scoreless NHL game.

Ultimately, Curtis Valk wound up spending the remainder of the 2017-18 season in the minors, posting magnificent numbers in a T-Birds’ uniform. In 73 AHL regular season games with Springfield, Valk registered a phenomenal tally of 20G, 42A, and 62 points, proving he’s certainly worthy of a contract extension. Additionally, Curtis Valk was the Thunderbirds’ MVP in the past season, so locking up the productive first line, AHL-caliber centerman should seem justified.

Essentially, retaining the services of Curtis Valk would seem fairly simple, realistic, and achievable. Tallon could provide the Canadian with another inexpensive contract, spanning approximately one or two years in term. Valk, knowing he’d play a significant role as a T-Bird, would most likely accept the offer posed by Tallon, hence returning as the Thunderbirds’ superstar player.

The 25-year-old possesses potential and upside, so receiving another NHL call-up in the foreseeable future appears highly likely, as well. Valk has thrived under the Panthers organization, so leaving the sole place in which one has experienced the most success wouldn’t seem wise, whatsoever.

Next: How Bob Boughner Can Improve in Year Two

In closing, Dale Tallon should re-sign Curtis Valk, as the centerman would undeniably provide necessary scoring depth, especially once injuries begin piling on throughout the course of the NHL season. In addition, Valk would contribute greatly towards any success obtained by the untalented Springfield Thunderbirds, as well.