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Panthers goalie Spencer Knight enters NHL player assistance program

Spencer Knight will be away from the Panthers for an “indefinite period."

Spencer Knight will be away from the Panthers indefinitely. (Photo by Josh Lavallee/NHLI via Getty Images)
Spencer Knight will be away from the Panthers indefinitely. (Photo by Josh Lavallee/NHLI via Getty Images) (NHLI via Getty Images)

Florida Panthers goaltender Spencer Knight has entered the NHL and NHLPA’s player assistance program, the league's public relations department announced on Friday.

The 21-year-old will be away from the team for an “indefinite period,” according to the release. The netminder will become eligible to return once cleared by program administrators, per the NHL.

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Knight, drafted 13th overall by the Panthers in 2019, had been struggling on the ice throughout this past season. After sustaining an undisclosed injury and amidst a reported illness earlier in the year, the netminder had been sent down to AHL Charlotte earlier this week to afford him some additional playing time. The trip was set to be his second to the Checkers this year, as he had previously spent two games with the club while on a conditioning loan.

”He has had health issues that have kept him out of being able to perform and get into games so he’s got a positive idea of what this will look like,” Panthers head coach Paul Maurice said on Thursday, prior to the announcement of Knight’s absence. “We are really hopeful that he can get down there and find that game.

”We’ve got a tremendous amount of faith in Spencer, his ability and what we’ve projected moving forward,” Maurice added at the time. “In terms of our faith in Spencer, nothing has changed at all.”

In 21 games this season, Knight has mustered a 9-8-3 record with a bloated 3.18 GAA with a .901 save percentage, both down from what had been a breakout rookie season the year prior.

Since mid-December, when Knight first dealt with a non-COVID illness, his results have been particularly poor. The highly touted youngster owns a 1-4-0 record with a .853 save percentage and 4.58 GAA since returning to action on Dec. 31.