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(Signing) Panthers re-sign R. Horvat

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Via Sportsnet.

 

One summer of uncertainty was enough for Ryan Horvat.

 

Coming off two years with the Los Angles Kings farm system, the Simcoe native spent the 2016 off-season not knowing where his hockey journey would go next.

He was all set to attend university when, at the last minute, the Springfield Thunderbirds - American Hockey League affiliate of the Florida Panthers – offered the left winger a contract.

After a year in Springfield where he became one of the squad's assistant captains, the 24-year-old Horvat has already been signed for the 2017-18 campaign.

“It's a little less stressful summer,” Horvat said. “It was a nice phone call to get and to have everything figured out early - now I know what I'm doing next year, I can have a good summer and basically work towards that.”

Horvat appeared in 47 games for the Thunderbirds before an injury took him out of the lineup down the stretch. He recorded 5 goals and 12 assists for the expansion franchise to go along with 73 penalty minutes.

“I thought it was great for me,” he added.

“Going into camp with Florida's organization and then going to Springfield, I wasn't too sure what to expect but once I got my feet on the ground there I walked into a leadership role and had to grow up as a player and as a person.”

Suiting up for the Thunderbirds meant Horvat - a gritty competitor known to be defensively responsible –played for the team's new head coach, Delhi native Geordie Kinnear.

“In the summer we have that relationship where we can just chat and stuff and throughout the year he's basically my boss,” Horvat said with a chuckle.

“It's not like we can just sit down and have a chat (during the season) but I felt comfortable going into his office, especially being a leader, and saying 'the guys need a break today' ... I felt like that was a good relationship to have.”

Knowing that Kinnear vouched for him fuelled Horvat in his third season of pro hockey.

“I knew he was going to hold me accountable,” said Horvat, a product of the Brantford 99ers minor hockey system.

“He stuck his neck out for me so I've got to make sure I'm fulfilling what he's told everyone. That puts pressure on me and I don't want to let him down.”

This summer Horvat is working towards becoming a more skilled player while not skirting any of his defensive responsibilities. He'll head to Florida in September for training camp with the Panthers, who lost a pair of forwards in Jonathan Marchessault and Reilly Smith to the expansion Vegas Golden Knights earlier this month.

“There's hopefully a couple spots (available) but I need to have a good summer and hopefully come into training camp in the best shape – better than what I was last year,” said the Holy Trinity alum. “Now that I've established myself in the organization... going into camp they know what kind of player I am and what kinds of things I can bring to the table.”

 

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4 minutes ago, 48MPHSlapShot said:

First thing I read was "Panthers sign Horvat"

 

Me: "Wait, WHAT!?!?!?"

The Ducks also re-signed Megna yesterday.

 

Spoiler

Jaycob Megna that is.

 

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I got really scared for a second.

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25 minutes ago, 48MPHSlapShot said:

First thing I read was "Panthers sign Horvat"

 

Me: "Wait, WHAT!?!?!?"

I was thinking the same thing when I first read it and almost lost it saying WTF. 

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Is there a bizarro hockey world where there's another Megna and Horvat? 

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