New Hampshire defenseman Gildon signs with Panthers, gives up senior season with Wildcats

LOWELL, MA - FEBRUARY 28: Max Gildon #8 of the New Hampshire Wildcats. The UMass Lowell River Hawks play host to the New Hampshire Wildcats during NCAA men's hockey at the Tsongas Center on February 28, 2020 in Lowell, Massachusetts. (Photo by Rich Gagnon/USCHO) (Rich Gagnon)
Max Gildon led UNH in scoring during the 2019-20 season with 29 points in 34 games (photo: Rich Gagnon).

New Hampshire junior defenseman Max Gildon signed a three-year, entry-level contract with the Florida Panthers on Thursday.

In signing the NHL deal, Gildon will forego his senior year with UNH.

Gildon was selected by Florida in the third round (66th overall) of the 2017 NHL Draft.

“We are very happy for Max,” said UNH coach Mike Souza in a statement. “Max was able to develop here at UNH both on and off the ice and realized his ultimate-goal of signing an NHL contract. As a result of his efforts, the Florida Panthers are getting a prospect with unlimited potential.”

A native of Plano, Tex., Gildon is the first player under Souza to ink an NHL deal.

In his three seasons with the Wildcats, Gildon posted 21 goals and 52 assists for 73 points over 101 games, including a seven-goal, 22-assist season in 2019-20.