Following an impressive playoff debut, the Florida Panthers have signed restricted free agent, defenceman Brady Keeper to a one- year, two- way contract.
This 24- year-old, who in 2019 made history by becoming the first player from Pimicikamak Cree Nation in Manitoba to make the NHL, officially signed that deal on Monday, August 31st.
During the Panthers recent Stanley Cup Qualifier Playoff Series against the New York Islanders, Keeper made his post season debut when in an eventual Game 2 loss, he logged 13:13 of ice time but ended up a minus one in an eventual 4-2 loss. This would be the only game he played in a best of five series which saw the Islanders win in four games.
“I thought he had a good game today,” Panthers coach Joel Quenneville said. “I thought he had an excellent (exhibition) game against (the Tampa Bay Lightning) and he had a real good training camp. I think that was why he earned his spot.”
Quenneville was referring to the mini- training camp and exhibition tune up game prior to playoffs getting under way. Keeper, who is 6 foot 2, and 209 pounds, originally played at University of Maine before inking on March 18, 2019, a two-year entry level deal with the Panthers. Ten days later, on Friday, March 28th, Keeper realized that ultimate dream while making history by making his NHL debut in what was a 5-2 road win against the Ottawa Senators.
“It’s a dream come true,” Keeper, who was undrafted said at the time. “I’ve got no words to explain how I feel. I’m just happy my parents and my whole family came down and got to see me play.”
Meanwhile, it was an impressive debut as he logged 12:40 of ice time while impressing with some solid hits. This past season, after struggling in training camp, Keeper played in the American Hockey League for Springfield where he produced six goals and 18 points in 61 games. After signing the one year, two- way contract, Keeper, who has a huge rooting section from Pimicikamak Cree Nation, will be looking to win a spot next year on the Panthers roster.