The Florida Panthers on Thursday agreed to entry-level contracts with two NCAA defensemen, including a 2020 Hobey Baker Award nominee.
Alec Rauhauser agreed to a one-year contract after his senior season at Bowling Green University, and Max Gildon agreed to a three-year contract after three seasons at the University of New Hampshire.
Rauhauser led Bowling Green and was fourth among NCAA defensemen with 35 points (11 goals, 24 assists) in 38 games this season, when the 25-year-old was nominated for the award given annually to the top NCAA men's ice hockey player and was the Western Collegiate Hockey Association Defensive Player of the Year for the second time in three seasons (also 2017-18).
Rauhauser, who was an undrafted free agent, had 122 points (29 goals, 93 assists) in 159 games in four seasons at Bowling Green.
"Alec has proven himself to be among the best at his position at the collegiate level," Panthers general manager Dale Tallon said. "He is a skilled two-way defenseman who is a leader both on and off the ice. We are excited to have him join the Panthers organization."
Gildon, selected by Florida in the third round (No. 66) of the 2017 NHL Draft, led New Hampshire with 29 points (seven goals, 22 assists) in 34 games this season, when the 20-year-old was named to Hockey East's Third All-Star Team.
"Max is a dynamic and exciting young defenseman who possesses size (6-foot-3, 191 pounds) and skill and plays the game with an edge," Tallon said. "Since beginning his collegiate career, he has been a key player for the University of New Hampshire and has been a leader for his team. We are thrilled for Max to take the next step in his development with the Panthers."
Gildon had 73 points (21 goals, 52 assists) in 101 games for New Hampshire from 2017-20 and led the team's defensemen in scoring each of his three seasons.