Florida Panthers: Henrik Borgstrom Rumored to Return to Finland

The latest news is surrounding that Florida Panthers forward Henrik Borgstrom may not be apart of the organization for the 2020-21 season.

It was reported by Jokke Nevalainen, Head of European Scouting at DobberProspects, that Florida Panthers youngster Henrik Borgstrom is rumored to be returning to Finland to play with Jokerit in the KHL.

Borgstrom, who is 22 years of age, was originally drafted by the Panthers in the first round (23rd overall) back in 2016. Upon his arrival to the big leagues, Borgstrom completely tore up the collegiate level, winning the NCAA Championship in his first season while pilling up the list of accolades during his two-year stint in Denver.

Since then, things haven’t gone all smoothly for the young Finn. The former first-round pick has yet to find a permanent spot in the Panthers lineup where he can succeed while recently struggling to find his place in Springfield (AHL), bouncing around without any sense of direction from coaching staff and management over in the minors.

His 2019-20 season is certainly one in which he’ll wish to forget as he’s lost a lot of confidence (and swagger) that he once owned when he was at the top of his game. A lot of this can allude to the poor development structure that’s gone on in Springfield since inception.

Unfortunately, he’s not the only prospect that’s been altered (in a poor way) since being sent down. Other names that should ring a bell are Aleksi Heponiemi and Henrik Haapala – the former being regarded as owning one of the most promising futures in Florida’s pipelines.

Borgstrom is in the final year of his entry-level deal, which is set to expire at the end of the 2019-20 season – whenever that may be. According to CapFriendly, at the end of the season, Borgstrom will be classified as a “10.2(c) player,” which is a player who doesn’t meet the UFA requirements or the Group 2 RFA requirements, who will be issued a qualifying offer, therefore being designated as a 10.2(c) player.

Borgstrom, however, is only eligible to negotiate and sign a contract with the Panthers – who hold his signing rights. He’s ineligible to negotiate a contract (offer sheet) with any other club. He’s also ineligible for arbitration. If Borgstrom doesn’t receive a qualifying offer by June 25th at 5:00pm (ET), he will immediately become a UFA.

Considering all of this, it’s only rationale that Borgstrom and his camp are beginning to take calls from other teams (from overseas) to try and find him a spot that will offer him consistent playing time. He also could be using this as leverage to obtain a one-year contract from the Cats. Either way, the youngster’s party is acting prematurely to avoid experiencing another season like the one they experienced this past year.

Overall, this is just another prime example of poor asset management by the Panthers altogether. It’s yet another instance where they’ve failed to properly develop one of their prospects at the NHL level – worst of all, this being a former first-round pick. The trend of allowing these players to enter this bad developmental process, which stalls and stunts their growth, is what’s going to be the end of whatever Florida has remaining.

All I can say is that if the rumors are said to be true, Dale Tallon and the rest have a lot of explaining to do regarding the failure of properly developing one of their best prospects.

Stay tuned for more relating to your Florida Panthers as we anxiously wait for a decision from the NHL pertaining to the remainder of the 2019-20 season.