NHL News

Panthers’ Knight moves toward return from PAP

CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. — Florida Panthers goalie Spencer Knight has been on the ice this week at a development camp, the first time he’s been around the team since entering the NHL/NHLPA player assistance program in February.

Knight, who was not with the Panthers during their run to the Stanley Cup Final, has not addressed his reasons for entering the program.

The Panthers revealed last month that they had been in contact with Knight and they believe he’ll be with the team when training camp starts in the fall — though that doesn’t necessarily guarantee he’ll immediately be back in the NHL.

“He’s doing well and we expect him back in the fold in the fall,” general manager Bill Zito said.

The development camp, mostly for players rising from juniors and the college level, has team-building events both on and off the ice events, including a Blink-182 concert this week at the team’s home arena.

“I honestly approach it like it’s just a great opportunity to play hockey,” Knight said. “I think any opportunity to play hockey is a great opportunity. But I think honestly in terms of my game, I think it is, too. You’ve got to come in and just work hard.”

Knight is the only player in the development camp with NHL experience. He started in 19 games and appeared in 21 this past season, going 9-8-3 with a 3.18 goals-against average and .901 save percentage.

He last appeared for Florida on Feb. 18, and said he was enjoying being back on the ice.

“There’s things I’m working on here, whether it’s your positioning or your skating, (that) I always say you can’t really replicate in environments where there’s not a structure or intensity,” Knight said. “So, this is one step. … It’s fun to just get back in the swing of things.”

The NHL and NHLPA started the player assistance program in 1996, giving players access to a confidential phone line and counselors in each city in the league. The jointly funded group assists players and their families with mental health, substance abuse and other matters

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