Florida Panthers: Evaluating the Max Gildon Signing

During the current period of quarantine due to the coronavirus outbreak, the Florida Panthers announced the signing of D Max Gildon to a three-year, entry-level contract.

The 20-year-old native of the United States was previously selected by the Florida Panthers with the 66th overall pick in the third round of the 2017 NHL Entry Level Draft. Since being drafted by the Cats, Gildon has carved out a marvelous career at the collegiate level with the University of New Hampshire.

After winning a Gold Medal with Team USA at the 2017 U18 World Junior Championship, Gildon would start out with the University of New Hampshire at the NCAA level. The 2017-18 campaign proved to be a relatively solid one for the dynamic two-way defenseman.

While participating in 36 games, Gildon recorded a tremendous slash line of 8 goals and 15 assists for 23 total points as a rookie. Moreover, Gildon would register 47 penalty minutes, demonstrating that he certainly played a highly physical, imposing style of play during college.

Gildon’s second season with New Hampshire proved to be rather exceptional. While suiting up in only 31 games, Gildon recorded a highly respectable line of 6 goals as well as 15 assists for 21 total points as a mere sophomore.

Essentially, Gildon was developing into a premier two-way defenseman for the University of New Hampshire. The Cats would allow him to remain with New Hampshire for a third season in order to further his development and growth.

The 2020 campaign was a dominant season for Max Gildon at the University of New Hampshire. While participating in only 34 games, Gildon registered a phenomenal tally of 7 goals and 22 assists for a career-high mark of 29 points.

The smooth-skating and offensively gifted Gildon had developed into a potent top-pairing defenseman at the NCAA level. Max demonstrated that he could produce near a point-per-game pace and play adequate defense in a relatively tough conference in college hockey.

After demonstrating positive strides, Max Gildon and the Florida Panthers organization agreed to take the next step in Gildon’s development. Both sides came to a mutual agreement on a three-year, entry-level contract, hence starting the Gildon era with the Cats effectively.

The soon-to-be 21-year-old likely needs another year of development before he is completely ready for the National Hockey League. Therefore, Panthers fans can fully expect Max Gildon to begin the 2021 pro-hockey campaign in the AHL, with an expected arrival time at the NHL level being in 2022.

Gildon possesses tremendous upside and potential to someday become a top-four defenseman for Florida in the foreseeable future. It’s imperative that the Cats do not rush Max Gildon and allow him to properly develop in the American Hockey League before calling him up.

Considered to be one of the best defense prospects in the Florida minor league system, the former third-round pick will likely spend the entirety of the 2021 season alongside D Chase Priskie on the top line at the AHL level.