Maine Hockey Journal

Panthers sign Balisy

Chase Balisy signed an entry-level contract with the Florida Panthers on Monday. Balisy, who led the St. John's IceCaps in goals last season, is expected to start the year with the Portland Pirates. (PHOTO: Rosina Vacchiano)

Chase Balisy signed an entry-level contract with the Florida Panthers on Monday. Balisy, who led the St. John’s IceCaps in goals (21) last season, is expected to start the year with the Portland Pirates. (PHOTO: Rosina Vacchiano)

The Florida Panthers continued to build the roster for their new AHL affiliate, the Portland Pirates, adding a pretty good piece on Monday.

The Panthers signed forward Chase Balisy to an entry-level contract, the club announced on Monday.

Balisy, 23, spent last season in the American Hockey League with the St. John’s IceCaps where he finished as the team’s leading goal scoring, recording 21 goals in 73 games.

He finished second in team scoring with 44 points only four points behind former UMaine defenseman Will O’Neill.

The Rancho Santa Margarita, California native recorded two goals and one assist in 10 games against the Pirates last season.

Despite his 5-foot-11, 180-pound frame, Balisy, who says his favorite player was Mats Sundin – explaining why he wore No. 13 for the IceCaps last season – shows a tenacity with his puck-carrying skills especially along the boards and around the net which should make his an asset on the Pirates roster this season with the likes of Rocco Grimaldi, Connor Brickley and Kyle Rau in the lineup.

Although Balisy finished with just 30 penalty minutes last season, he’s carries a physical presence on the ice albeit a smart presence as he can see the ice extremely well.

Balisy was originally drafted by the Nashville Predators in the sixth round (170th overall) in the 2011 NHL Draft, but despite attending several of the Predators summer development camps they did not sign him, making him a free agent.

He signed an AHL contract last August with the Winnipeg Jets’ former affiliate in St. John’s, Newfoundland.

Prior to turning pro, Balisy played two years with the US National Development team before attending Western Michigan University where he spent all four seasons.

He was coached his freshman year by Jeff Blashill who left to become head coach the Grand Rapid Griffins, a position he still holds, and later by former NHL head coach Andy Murray.

In 161 games, Balisy scored 49 goals, 80 assists for 129 points and was captain of the 2013-’14 squad.

Terms of the contract were not disclosed, but due to Balisy’s age it’s likely to be a two-year contract according to the NHL’s Collective Bargaining Agreement.

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