In desperate need of depth at center, Calgary has acquired former Panthers draftee Corban Knight in exchange for a fourth-round pick at the 2013 NHL Entry Draft.
“Corban Knight is a player our scouts have been watching closely throughout his collegiate career,” Calgary GM Jay Feaster said in a statement. “When Florida did not sign Corban this spring we contacted them and asked for permission to speak with him. Florida granted teams, including ours, that opportunity on the condition that we were prepared to trade for his rights.
“During the past ten days we spoke with Corban and his agent, and were pleased to learn Corban wanted to start his pro career in Calgary.”
Feaster went on to add the Flames were “confident” they’ll get Knight signed after July 5, and that they’re looking forward “to his debut in a Flames’ sweater this fall.”
UPDATE: According to TSN’s Bob McKenzie, the two sides have already agreed on a two-year entry-level deal.
Knight was taken in the fifth round of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, but proceeded to increase his value with a stellar four-year career at North Dakota.
He finished second on the team in scoring last season — 49 points in 41 games — and was one of the 10 finalists for the 2013 Hobey Baker award.
With Florida having drafted a bunch of young, talented centers over the last few years — Calder winner Jonathan Huberdeau, Nick Bjugstad, Quinton Howden, Vincent Trocheck — Knight figured his best shot at the NHL was with a different club.
“After my season finished, we had talks with Florida and negotiations took place, but it turned out it wasn’t going to work out for both parties,” he told the Edmonton Journal. “We told Florida we were going to wait until free agency (Aug. 15) or a trade.”
With Calgary, Knight faces a far less competition at the center position. The Flames depth chart down the middle currently features Matt Stajan, Mikael Backlund, Roman Horak and Max Reinhart.
(Image courtesy panthers.nhl.com)