With the 2015 free-agent signing period having commenced at 12 PM today, the Panthers were quiet up until now when they announced that they’ve signed goaltender Mike McKenna to a two-year, two-way contract, as well as Shane Harper and Sena Acolatse to one-year, two-way deals.
McKenna played 52 games for the Portland Pirates last season where he went 27-18-6 with a 2.24 goals against average and a .926 save percentage with 7 shutouts. He has played in 22 NHL games throughout his career and although he has fared very well in those games, it’s possible he could become a viable number 3 option for the Panthers after coming off a decent AHL season.
Shane Harper is 26-year old right-winger who is coming off a career year in the AHL where he scored 32 goals and had 18 assists in 72 games for the Chicago Wolves, the affiliate of the St. Louis Blues. Harper is poised to take over for Bobby Butler, the leading scorer for the San Antonio Rampage last year who was lost to free agency. The California-native’s 32 goals were good for 3rd in the AHL last season.
Sena Acolatse is a 24-year old defenseman coming off a year during which he tallied 19 points in 38 games for the Adirondack Flames, the AHL affiliate of the Calgary Flames. Acolatse was on pace for 38 points over a full 76-game AHL season which would’ve been his career best.
The Panthers have slowly added depth pieces to the Portland Pirates lineup such as Chase Balisy and Greg McKegg, and it’s expected that these players, combined with guys like Connor Brickley, Kyle Rau, Mike Matheson, and Corban Knight, will be eyeing a playoff run deeper than that of last year.