Restricted free agent winger Frank Vatrano received a one-year, one-way contract today from the Florida Panthers. This contract ends after the 2018-19 season when he will again be a restricted free agent. The deal is worth $925,000 per Pierre Lebrun.
— Harvey Fialkov (@hfialkov) June 29, 2018
Frank Vatrano Staying with the Florida Panthers
Vatrano, 24, has just three years of NHL experience under his belt between the Boston Bruins and Florida Panthers. His professional career began in 2015-16 with the Bruins after he signed with the team as a free agent out of Providence (NCAA Div I). He has accumulated 25 goals and 14 assists for 39 career points in 124 career games.
In 2017-18, Vatrano managed seven goals and three assists for 10 points in 41 games. After being traded just prior to the NHL trade deadline, he posted eight points (five goals) in 16 games as a Panther. His Corsi For was 51.2 percent, paired with a relative Corsi of +1.9.
Because of the glut of young forwards performing extremely well in Boston, Vatrano became the odd-man out. A healthy scratch at times, Vatrano also missed significant stretches due to injuries before Florida acquired his contract. Bob Boughner plugged him into the lineup as soon as Vatrano was healthy, and he found moderate success in a depth forward role. The 0.5 point-per-game pace he achieved in his 16 games in Florida was the highest of his career so far.
What This Means for the Future
Frank Vatrano is a dynamic young forward that can arguably still be considered a prospect. Vatrano’s style suits him best for a spot in a team’s top two lines. The increased opportunity he received in Florida definitely resulted in increased production. Because of this, it shouldn’t come as a surprise when he receives a shot at even more ice time next year. Vatrano possesses a powerful shot paired with a quick release. These are the tools necessary to become a dynamic goal scorer in the NHL.
Vatrano’s sights will be set on establishing himself as an NHL regular with this contract. On the high end, Vatrano could potentially push 20 goals and the 50 point mark. It will come down to how much he is able to progress in his development through the off-season.
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