Friday Caterwaul: Florida Panthers Open Forum

Cats add Rudolfs Balcers on second day of free agency

After making a total of seven signings on Wednesday, the Florida Panthers officially announced another Thursday morning with the addition of former San Jose Shakrs forward Rudolfs Balcers.

Balcers, 25, skated in 61 games with the Sharks in 2021-22, producing a career-high 11 goals, 12 assists and 23 points. He has played in a total of 153 career NHL games with San Jose and the Ottawa Senators, totaling 25 goals and 57 points.

The 5-foot-11, 182-pound native of Liepaja, Latvia has appeared in 143 career American Hockey League games with the Belleville Senators and San Jose Barracuda, producing 56 goals and 115 points.

Prior to his professional career, Balcers played one season of major junior with the Kamloops Blazers of the Western Hockey League, leading the Blazers with 40 goals and ranking second on the club with 77 points.

On the international stage, Balcers led Latvia with nine points (1G/8A) over seven games at the 2019 IIHF World Championship, and he represented his home country at both the U20 (2017) and U18 (2015) World Junior Championships.

Balcers was originally selected by San Jose in the fifth round (142nd overall) of the 2015 NHL Draft.

Surrounded by the Panthers more potent cast of forwards, look for Balcers to eclipse the career-highs he set last season in San Jose.

Welcome to the fold, Rudolfs!