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Competition Makes You Stronger

Monday, 07.9.2012 / 3:30 PM ET / News
By Glenn Odebralski  - FloridaPanthers.com
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Competition Makes You Stronger

It's the old adage that "competition makes you stronger".

That fits the Panthers organization, especially when looking at the future.

Florida concluded it's summer Development Camp last week and the competition both on and off the ice was intense. In fact, it's the best that Panthers GM Dale Tallon has seen since he's joined the organization two years ago. Three very successful drafts which has added 28 players to the system will do that. Adding players with talent, size, speed and character to the organization's system has bumped up the competition levels.

"This is great. We're getting deeper and deeper," said Tallon following the close of Camp on Friday. "Every year it is better and better. The competition level is fierce. It's an exciting time for our franchise."

Of those 28 draft picks over the last three years, 16 have come in the first three rounds, five in the top 30 picks. It's no wonder that Hockey's Future ranked the Panthers as having the best organizational depth in each of their last two rankings.

"The depth of the organization is quite evident when we look out there and there's lots of competition for jobs, not only in the short term but in the long term," said Panthers Director of Scouting Scott Luce. "Once again, it's an overall success. For the new guys coming in, Dale has established a culture that the bar is where it's at."

With only 23 players making up an NHL roster, at max, a lot of the players realize that the supply (roster spot) is much less than the demand (number of players looking for one) in terms of locking up a spot in the future.

"It's not only spots on the big club but it's also spots for contracts. We had two very successful drafts in regards to quantity of players and we had another draft, this past draft, we didn't have as many picks as the previous two," said Luce. "So when you look at that the quantity of high-end prospects battling for specific number of contracts in any given year over the next three years is going to be very significant.

"We've got a lot of tough decisions moving forward on who to sign, when to sign. We have to manage that and put the different puzzle pieces together accordingly on a year-to-year basis."

Those that were in attendance at Development Camp are well aware of the competition for those spots. They'll head back home to train and get better, just trying to make sure they take that next step to earning a spot in Florida.

"I think it's a great thing. We have better new guys coming in every year and I think it's only going up for this organization," said 2011 third round pick Vincent Trocheck (64th overall). "It showed in the rankings, we were number one future team prospects and I think it definitely shows."

And even if a player won't be attempting to make the leap to the pros this upcoming season, it doesn't mean that the Panthers brass will give them a reprieve about their immediate futures.

"Some are going back to college and some are going to Juniors and some are going back to Europe. We've got them from all different walks of life," said Tallon. "They know that they're fighting for jobs down the road.

"You keep a book on these kids and how they performed and how they progressed and who wants it the most and how they compete against each other. You keep a file on these young guys and they know that. They know there's going to be competition for jobs."

But as Tallon told the players at the close of camp, if they're up for the challenge both as individuals and as a group, good things ahead are to be expected.

"I told these kids that I'm very proud of them," said Tallon. "A lot of good players. A lot of top notch people fighting for jobs…Nothing but good news for us as far as the future is concerned with the talent we do have coming and the character that we do have coming."




1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69


J. Jagr 79 27 39 23 66
J. Jokinen 81 18 42 25 60
A. Barkov 66 28 31 18 59
J. Huberdeau 76 20 39 17 59
V. Trocheck 76 25 28 15 53
R. Smith 82 25 25 19 50
A. Ekblad 78 15 21 18 36
N. Bjugstad 67 15 19 -8 34
B. Campbell 82 6 25 31 31
B. Pirri 52 11 13 -4 24
R. Luongo 35 19 6 .922 2.35
A. Montoya 12 7 3 .919 2.18

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