Hitting The Ice
Panthers prospects skate for first time at Iceplex as part of Development Camp.
Tuesday, 07.12.2011 / 5:15 PM / News
By Glenn Odebralski - FloridaPanthers.com
"This camp focuses more about skill set and working on their fundamentals," said Panthers head coach Kevin Dineen who led the two hour long sessions. "When we're out there doing those kinds of things, it feels good. I think for them and certainly for us as well."
"It was great to see all our prospects out on the ice this morning," added Panthers GM Dale Tallon. "We have a diverse group of young, high character and hard working players who share a passion and love for the game. Our staff has done a fine job is setting up a variety of on and off ice activities throughout the week, that will help to enhance our prospects growth and development."
More than 500 fans got a close up to the Panthers' future at the Panthers Den at Saveology.com Iceplex as they went through drill after drill, working on passing, shooting and scoring.
"It was wonderful to see all our fans come out and pack the rink this morning to watch our prospects," said Tallon. "We have a great fan base in South Florida and today they had the opportunity to see the future of the Florida Panthers organization."
For the prospects that were in attendance (open to those that were just drafted within last couple of years and first and second year pros), it was a chance to get their feet (or skates) back on the ice. For most it was the first time in a few months.
"To skate on the ice for the first time with the Panthers jersey was great," said Panthers first round pick (3rd overall) in the 2011 NHL Draft Jonathan Huberdeau.
The Panthers prospects who have been in South Florida since at least Sunday have been bonding through the on and off ice workouts and activities.
"It's been great. Especially the older guys have taken the younger guys in," said Rocco Grimaldi, the Panthers second round pick (33rd overall) in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. "Everyone is respectful of everyone and it feels like brothership already. We've only been here a couple of days so that's great to see."
"It's great to come here," said Huberdeau. "Come here and meet all the guys. There's older guys and younger guys. It's good to do that in July. It's a great experience to come here and be ready for the rookie camp.
While the prospects are learning to become pros on and off the ice this week, they are keeping in mind that they are trying to make an impression in front of the coach's and scout's eyes. With Tallon saying that there was some spots on the roster open for the young players, development camp is one way to go a long way to making the opening night lineup.
"I'm a young guy so any time I come here, I'm soaking up whatever is shown to me. The competition is one thing," said Erik Gudbranson, the Panthers first pick (third overall) in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. "At main camp, I'm going to be extremely excited to skate with all those pros."
The fun/workouts continue with some off ice workouts Wednesday before more on-ice workouts both Thursday and Friday mornings (9am start). Both on-ice days are open to the public.
Guddy A JovoCop Fan
Following practice, 2010 first round pick Erik Gudbranson (3rd overall) was asked about the Panthers and all of the moves they made to help their team before and during free agency. Gudbranson was paying attention to the moves and was extremely excited about two of the moves.
"Obviously it's amazing," said Gudbranson. "Being able to turn on TSN up in Ottawa and look down at the tidbits at the bottom (of the screen) and they picked up Ed Jovanovski who is by far one of my favorite defensemen growing up. It's someone you can model your game after and definitely look up to.
"I was really excited when we picked up Matt Bradley. I've been skating with him for the last couple of years. He's a seasoned vet. He's great with the young guys."
Dineen Already Looking Ahead
While it's only July and the opening night roster won't be set for probably another three months, head coach Kevin Dineen was asked about the prospects of a depth chart. While he hasn't thought of that, he has certainly thought about line combinations.
Another thing that he was asked about was the captaincy. That will be determined once the team convenes for training camp in September.