Darien's Spencer Knight to make NHL debut in Florida

Darien’s Spencer Knight turned 20 on Monday, and a day later, he’s expected to make his NHL debut in goal for the Florida Panthers.

The Panthers meet the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday night in Sunrise, Fla., at 7 p.m.

“’Good chance he’s starting tomorrow,’ (Florida coach Joel) Quenneville said in his way of saying that Knight is definitely playing,” wrote George Richards of Florida Hockey Now after the Panthers’ 4-2 win over the Blue Jackets on Monday. Knight was Sergei Bobrovsky’s backup in that game.

Knight was the 13th pick in the 2019 NHL draft out of the United States National Team Development Program and signed his three-year entry-level contract with the Panthers on March 31.

He had just completed two seasons at Boston College, both interrupted to join the U.S. junior national team for the World Junior Championships. He and the Americans won gold this January in Edmonton, Alberta, beating Canada 2-0 on Jan. 5 in the championship game.

The Panthers come into Tuesday a tiebreaker behind Carolina for first place in the Central Division, one point ahead of the defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning. Columbus sits last in the division, a tiebreaker behind Detroit.

“Tomorrow will be fun, getting that first taste in his career,” Quenneville, the former Hartford Whalers defenseman, said Monday as relayed by the Miami Herald. “We’re looking forward to it as well.”