SUNRISE — Brady Keeper will remain a member of the Florida Panthers organization for his second professional season.
Keeper, a rugged 6-foot-2, 210-pound defenseman from the Pimicikamak Cree Nation in Manitoba, Canada, re-signed with the Panthers on Aug. 31. The one-year contract comes after Keeper spent his rookie pro season with Florida’s American Hockey League affiliate in Massachusetts. Keeper, 24, put up solid numbers with 6 goals, 12 assists and a team-high 108 penalty minutes in 61 games with the Springfield Thunderbirds.
He appeared in one game this season for the Panthers, which came in game 2 of their Stanley Cup qualifying round series against the New York Islanders in early August. Keeper didn’t play again in the series, but he made a favorable impression on Panthers coach Joel Quenneville.
“I thought he had a good game today,” Panthers coach Joel Quenneville said after game 2 in a story on NHL.com. “I thought he had an excellent (exhibition) game against (the Tampa Bay Lightning), and he had a real good training camp. I think that was why he earned his spot.”
Keeper played his amateur hockey with the OCN Blizzard, a team in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League that was founded by the Opaskwayak Cree Nation. Keeper went on to play two seasons with the University of Maine. He left after the 2018-19 season and signed with the Panthers. He immediately made his NHL debut with the Panthers, appearing in one regular season game in March 2019.
He scored his first pro goal in October 2019 with Springfield.