Florida Panthers Sign Nate Schmidt To One-Year Deal

The Florida Panthers have bolstered their blue line by signing defenseman Nate Schmidt to a one-year, $800,000 contract. 

Schmidt, an unrestricted free agent, was recently bought out by the Winnipeg Jets, leaving one year remaining on his six-year deal that carried a $5.95 million cap hit. 

His new contract with the Panthers represents a significant pay cut, making up just 0.91% of the 2024-25 salary cap.

This past season, Schmidt recorded two goals, 14 total points, a +10 plus/minus rating, 76 blocked shots, and 66 hits across 63 games played, marking the lowest output of his career in any season where he played at least 50 games.

The former undrafted free agent from the University of Minnesota began his NHL career with the Washington Capitals before being claimed by the Vegas Golden Knights in the expansion draft. He later played for the Vancouver Canucks and the Jets, facing multiple trades and a recent buyout.

Over his three seasons in Winnipeg, the 32-year-old put up 13 goals, 65 total points, a +21 plus/minus rating, 148 hits, and 265 blocked shots across 211 games played.

The Panthers have opted for a conservative approach in their offseason moves, signing several players like Schmidt, Rasmus Asplund, Tomas Nosek, Jesper Boqvist, and Chris Driedger to strengthen their roster. 

With just over $5.7 million in projected salary cap space remaining, the team still needs to finalize deals with restricted free agents Anton Lundell and Mack Guzda.

Seravalli reported that Schmidt left more money on the table to sign with Florida and play for Paul Maurice.

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