the Florida Panthers selected defender Thomas Schemitsch in the third round (88th overall) of the 2015 entry draft held here at the local rink in Sunrise, Florida, after the Thornhill, Ont., native put up some fine offensive numbers in his year draft with 14 goals and 49 points while playing all 68 regular season games for the OHL’s Owen Sound offense.
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 -12 odds after equalizing in 2014-15. Schemitsch produced 4 assists in the Attack’s six-game loss to the London Knights in the first round of the playoffs.
Schemitsch turned professional in 2016-17, splitting his time between the Springfield Thunderbirds and the defunct Manchester Monarchs. In 37 games with the Thunderbirds, he scored his first AHL goal and three assists and posted a -7 rating and 4 PIM. In 17 games with the Monarchs, he scored one goal and added seven assists and posted a +2 differential. He played in 16 ECHL playoff games (6A) as the Monarchs advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals before losing in seven games to the South Carolina Stingrays.
In 2017-18, he played a full season at the AHL level with Springfield and scored ten goals, which led the team’s defensemen, while finishing with nine assists, 75 shots on goal, 40 PIM and a differential of +3.
In 2018-19, Schemitsch produced AHL career highs in assists (15) and points (24) despite playing 13 fewer games (56) than the previous season. If he hadn’t missed 20 games, he would have hit double-digit goals again and likely eclipsed the 30-point mark. Schemitsch’s nine goals and +4 record were both second-best among defensemen on the team, while his 93 shots on goal were the third-most in the group.
After signing a new one-year contract on July 14, 2019, Schemitsch spent his third consecutive full season with the Thunderbirds. Because of coronavirus, the AHL season was cut short, so he only played 57 games, a similar number to the previous year. His numbers went from 9 goals and 15 assists to 4 goals and 11 assists and he tied a career high with 40 PIM.
Schemitsch appeared to be progressing as a prospect, but his downfall this season may not bode well for his future with the organization. Once again a restricted free agent, and now with officiating rights, Schemitsch has already been passed on the depth board by the likes of Riley Stillmanwho is now in the big club, Goalkeeper Brady and vesting deadline Chase Prisky. Add leads like John Ludwig and Max Gildon, who recently signed entry-level deals, and we wonder if the Panthers won’t offer him a new contract. At just 23 years old and with 206 games of AHL experience and some offensive upside, Schemitsch might be worth giving him some time. It will be interesting to see how that pans out once we get to the offseason.
Will the Panthers sing Schemitsch to a new chord?
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