OHL defenseman Thomas Schemitsch finished his 2015-16 campaign with 31 points in 51 games – and now, he’ll go pro with the Atlantic Division club with a new NHL contract.
It was confirmed on Saturday that Schemitsch, drafted in the third round of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft by Florida, has inked a three-year entry level deal with the club. He was subsequently reassigned to the AHL’s Springfield Thunderbirds, where he’ll start off his first year of pro hockey with the Massachusetts-based minor league club.
A native of Thornhill, Ontario, the 19-year-old defenseman – who will turn 20 later this October, enabling him to go pro this year instead of returning to the major juniors for another season – skated with the Owen Sound Attack of the OHL for three years prior to this fall. He finished last year as the second highest-scoring player on the blue line for his team.
The Panthers dealt defenseman Jonathan Racine to the Montreal Canadiens earlier on Saturday morning, so there’s now an additional available space on the team’s AHL roster on the blue line. That creates another space for Schemitsch in the minor leagues; the question at this point will be where he’ll be in the lineup in terms of the depth chart.
The Springfield Thunderbirds will play their first game this season on October 15th, when they travel to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms for their season opener.