The Panthers announced today that they’ve signed forward Logan Shaw and defenseman Jonathan Racine to identical 1-year, 2-way contracts worth $660,000 and $70,000 at the NHL and AHL level respectively.
Logan Shaw is coming off his first stretch of NHL games after suiting up for 53 for the Panthers this season while registering 5 goals, 2 assists, and a -7 rating. The two forwards Shaw spent the most time with at 5v5 were Nick Bjugstad and Brandon Pirri as well as defenseman Brian Campbell who we know very well as one of the better drivers of possession in the league from the backend. However, a lot of the time, Shaw’s performance wasn’t really indicative of the players he was playing with.
Shaw owned the team’s second-worst Corsi For% at 45.2 among players that were on the ice for at least 300 minutes, although he did appear to be playing a much better game in the playoffs when he was put on the 4th line, so perhaps that’s where he’ll fit for the foreseeable future. He’s a hard-working player, goes to the front of the net, skates well, and plays a north-south game, so the coaching staff likes him for that. We know he can produce at the AHL level – he scored 11 goals in 19 games with Portland this past season – so he’s certainly capable of a bit more than what he’s done thus far.
The competition for spots in the bottom-6 is amping up following the signings of Jonathan Marchessault and Colton Sceviour, and then throw in guys like Connor Brickley, Kyle Rau, Dryden Hunt, Jayce Hawryluk, and Lawson Crouse, and you’ll see that Shaw will need to take that next step if he wants to play in the NHL this coming season.
Jonathan Racine is fresh off his best pro season of his career, but it’s all relative as he hasn’t exactly been a standout in his previous 2 seasons in the AHL. That’s not to say he’s a bad player, because he isn’t by any means. As a defensive defenseman, he takes care of his own end first which would explain why he tallied his first professional goal and finished with his 2nd career multi-point effort in his 156th AHL game this past season.
He played in his only NHL game with the Panthers on April 4th, 2014 against the Islanders, so it’s been a good amount of time since we’ve been able to see him up with the big club. It’s unclear whether he’ll get any NHL time in the future, especially considering the Panthers opted to call up guys like Brent Regner and Dylan Olsen as injury replacements this past season.
Although players like Racine are still needed around the league, the Panthers have made it pretty clear – especially this off-season – that they want their blueline to consist of players that can skate, move the puck well, and contribute on the offensive side of things. That’s pretty much the type of defensemen that the organization’s prospect pool and AHL team consists of, so Racine could become the odd man out very soon. Considering he’s 23 and has yet to be given a hard look aside from 1 game 2 years ago, he doesn’t project to be anything more than a 6th or 7th defenseman at the NHL level, and since he’s getting bottom-4 minutes in the AHL, he’s got a hill to climb for sure.