The Florida Panthers selected defenseman Thomas Schemitsch in the third round (88th overall) of the 2015 Entry Draft held here at the home rink in Sunrise, FL, after the Thornhill, ON native put up some nice offensive numbers in his draft year with 14 goals and 49 points while playing all 68 regular season games for the OHL’s Owen Sound Attack.
After being drafted by the Cats, Schemitsch returned to Owen Sound, but missed 17 games in what turned out to be his final OHL season and failed to match his totals from the previous season. He finished the year with 9 goals and 31 points in 51 games and posted a -12 rating rating after going even in 2014-15. Schemitsch produced 4 assists in the Attack’s six-game loss to the London Knights in the opening round of the playoffs.
Schemitsch turned pro in 2016-17, splitting time between the Springfield Thunderbirds and now-defunct Manchester Monarchs. In 37 games with the Thunderbirds, he notched his first AHL goal and three assists and posted a -7 rating and 4 PIM. In 17 games with the Monarchs, he scored a goal and added seven assists and posted a +2 rating. He suited up in 16 ECHL playoff games (6A) as the Monarchs advanced to the Eastern Conference Final before falling in seven games to South Carolina Stingrays.
In 2017-18, he played a full season at the AHL level with Springfield and fired in ten goals, which led the team’s defensemen, while finishing with nine assists, 75 shots on goal, 40 PIM and a +3 rating.
2018-19 saw Schemitsch produce AHL career-highs in both assists (15) and points (24) despite playing in 13 fewer games (56) than the season prior. Had he not missed 20 games he would’ve hit double-digit goals again and probably eclipsed the 30-point mark. Schemitsch’s nine goals and +4 rating were both second-best among the team’s defensemen, while his 93 shots on goal were the third-highest total among the group.
After signing a new one-year deal on July 14. 2019, Schemitsch spent a third consecutive full season with the Thunderbirds. Due to the coronavirus, the AHL season was cut short, so he appeared in just 57 games, a similar number to the year prior. His numbers dropped from 9 goals and 15 assists to 4 goals and 11 assists and he matched a career-high with 40 PIM.
Schemitsch seemed to be progressing as a prospect, but his fall off this season might not bode well for his future with the organization. Again a restricted free agent, and now with arbitration rights, Schemitsch has been already been passed on the depth chart by the likes off Riley Stillman, who is now on the big club, Brady Keeper and deadline day acquisition Chase Priskie. Add in prospects like John Ludvig and Max Gildon, who recently signed entry-level deals, and one wonders if the Panthers will pass on offering him a new contract. Still just 23-years-old and with 206 AHL games of experience and some offensive upside, Schemitsch might be worth giving a little time. It will be interesting to see how that plays out once we actually get to the offseason.
Will the Panthers sing Schemitsch to a new deal?
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