Panthers sign forward Rudolfs Balcers to one-year contract

San Jose Sharks left wing Rudolfs Balcers (92) celebrates with the bench after his goal against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the second period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2022, in Tampa, Fla. (Chris O'Meara/AP)

The Florida Panthers and forward Rudolfs Balcers agreed to a one-year deal on Thursday.

Balcers set career highs with 11 goals and 12 assists in 61 games last season with the San Jose Sharks.

"Rudolfs is a hard-working playmaker who competes with pace and skill," Panthers general manager Bill Zito said in a statement. "His energy and competitiveness will complement our lineup well."

The 25-year-old from Liepaja, Latvia, has 25 goals and 32 assists for 57 points in 153 career games with the Ottawa Senators and Sharks.

He was drafted in the fifth round, 142nd overall, by San Jose in 2015 and was traded to Ottawa in 2018 as part of the package for star defenceman Erik Karlsson. Balcers rejoined the Sharks in January 2021 after he was claimed off waivers.

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