The Florida Panthers signed the undrafted free agent goaltender Alexander Salák to an entry-level contract on Friday afternoon. It’s also noted below that he will be attending the Panthers development camp next week in Canada.
Salák may not have been drafted by an NHL team, but he’s considered a legitimate free agent prospect. Some folks in Finland have called Salák the next Dominik Hasek.
From jatkoaika.com: Stays up when saving and covers the net well because of his size. Can do the butterfly style too and goes down smartly. On a good day saves everything. Minus is his hot temper and maybe unsteady performances.
Where does he fit within the Florida Panthers organization? That’s a big question.
This brings up a lot of questions as well about the goaltending situation for the Rochester Americans next season.
Tomas Vokoun is still under contract with the Panthers. Craig Anderson is an unrestricted free agent. That leaves an opening for a backup goaltender in Florida. I can’t imagine that the Panthers signed Alexander Salák to be a backup in the NHL without ever playing in the league.
If the Panthers are hoping that Salák will be playing in Rochester it could be a potential sign that Mike Brodeur may not be returning. If Brodeur is signed as a free agent and Salák splits time with him in Rochester it would indicate plenty of play in the ECHL for Tyler Plante and Chris Beckford-Tseu who are still under contract for another season.
Either way, Salák seems like an excellent free agent signing.
From the press release:
“Salák is a talented, young goaltender who has played very well while developing his skills and competing in Europe,” said Martin. “He will attend our development camp next week and we look forward to his continued growth and production within our organization.”
Salák 22, played in 53 games for TPS Turku (FIN) this season posting a 20-20-9 mark with a 2.40 GAA and a .923 save percentage. While playing for TPS Turku he was coached by Urpo Ylönen who has coached former TPS Turku goalies such as Miikka Kiprusoff and Antero Niittymäki. The Strakonice, Czech Republic native, played for Bud?jovice (2002-2006) on their U-18 and U-20 teams, before signing in Finland, prior to the start of the 2007-08 season.
Here’s an awesome save by Salak: