It sounds like the Florida Panthers will be announcing in the near future that they’ve signed Boston College defenseman Ian McCoshen. The move was initially reported by CSN New England’s Joe Haggerty and then confirmed by Jimmy Murphy.
McCoshen was taken by Florida with the 31st pick of the 2013 NHL Entry Draft and is choosing to go pro after completing his sophomore season. He had six goals, 21 points, and 86 penalty minutes in 40 NCAA games in 2015-16.
This move follows Florida’s decision to trade 24-year-old defenseman Erik Gudbranson last month. As previously noted, it wasn’t that long ago that Gudbranson was regarded as a big piece of the Panthers’ future, but along with McCoshen, the Panthers also boast Alex Petrovic, Aaron Ekblad, and Michael Matheson as far as young blueliners go and that fact might have led to them feeling Gudbranson was expendable.
The Panthers are certainly counting on that young defensive core to guide the team forward. While they’ve expressed interest in re-signing Brian Campbell, it looks like he’ll test the free agent market. Meanwhile Willie Mitchell‘s playing career may be over.
Campbell, Gudbranson, and Mitchell averaged 22:16, 21:40, and 19:55 minutes per contest in 2015-16 when they were healthy. That’s a lot of ice time that need filling. McCoshen might not be ready to step into the Panthers’ lineup right away, let alone play a significant role in 2016-17, but long-term he might be part of the solution.