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Panthers To Hold Barkov Out Of Prospect Tournament

Wednesday, 09.04.2013 / 4:00 PM / News
By Alain Poupart  - NHL.com Correspondent
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Panthers To Hold Barkov Out Of Prospect Tournament
Even though he\u2019s been cleared to play following shoulder surgery in April, Aleksander Barkov will not be playing this weekend when the Panthers play host to a prospect tournament.

SUNRISE, Fla. -- The Florida Panthers aren't going to take any chances with top draft pick Aleksander Barkov.

Even though he's been cleared to play following shoulder surgery in April, the Finnish center will not be in the lineup this weekend when the Panthers play host to a prospect tournament at their training facility in Coral Springs, Fla.

General Manager Dale Tallon said he didn't want to take any chances with Barkov, particularly after all the injury problems the Panthers had last season.

"Yes, he's ready to go, but we're just making a decision now," Tallon said Wednesday morning. "Why jeopardize anything with three games in three days? He'll be more ready to compete with the big guys 10 days from now.

"We might as well just make sure. There's no sense. An extra 10 days before any really good contact will really help him. He's cleared to play and he's ready to go, but I think we're erring on the side of caution. I'd rather make sure that he's 110 percent and another week or 10 days will make it even better for him."

The Panthers begin their full training camp next week.

Barkov, who turned 18 on Monday, was selected second in the 2013 NHL Draft after the Colorado Avalanche took center Nathan MacKinnon at No. 1.

The rookie prospect tournament would have been an opportunity for him to go up against the two players selected immediately after him, Tampa Bay Lightning forward Jonathan Drouin and Nashville Predators defenseman Seth Jones.

"Of course I would like to play against them, but I had this shoulder surgery in April and we have to go slow," Barkov said. "If I had an injury in the rookie tournament, it wouldn't be a good thing.

"I want to do everything [I can so] that they know it was the right decision between me, Jones and Drouin."

Barkov has been skating for a few days in informal workouts that have included veterans such as Sean Bergenheim and Dmitry Kulikov.

The 6-foot-3, 209-pound Barkov is expected to be on the Panthers' opening-day roster, but he's not taking anything for granted.

"My only goal at the beginning of the season is to get on the team," Barkov said. "Then if I get on the team, then maybe I'll have other goals."

Tallon also indicated Wednesday that Calder Trophy winner Jonathan Huberdeau wouldn't be playing this weekend either, even though he's eligible for the rookie camp.

Huberdeau underwent hip surgery after the 2012-13 season.

The prospect tournament at the Saveology.com Iceplex starts Friday with a game between the Boston Bruins and Tampa Bay at 2 p.m., followed by the Panthers going against Nashville at 6 p.m.

The teams will all face each other in a round-robin format through Sunday.

Author: Alain Poupart | NHL.com Correspondent

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 TBL 51 32 15 4 166 133 68
2 MTL 49 32 14 3 130 111 67
3 DET 50 29 12 9 149 129 67
4 NYI 49 32 16 1 158 139 65
5 PIT 49 28 13 8 145 125 64
6 BOS 50 27 16 7 134 124 61
7 NYR 47 28 15 4 139 112 60
8 WSH 50 25 15 10 147 129 60
9 FLA 47 21 16 10 115 132 52
10 PHI 51 22 22 7 140 151 51
11 OTT 48 20 19 9 136 136 49
12 TOR 51 22 25 4 144 156 48
13 NJD 50 19 22 9 113 138 47
14 CBJ 48 21 24 3 120 151 45
15 CAR 49 17 26 6 105 129 40
16 BUF 50 14 33 3 94 179 31

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
N. Bjugstad 47 16 13 -2 29
A. Ekblad 47 7 21 6 28
J. Huberdeau 44 9 17 0 26
J. Jokinen 46 4 21 -3 25
B. Boyes 45 10 12 2 22
J. Hayes 38 13 7 1 20
S. Bergenheim 36 8 9 2 17
A. Barkov 36 5 10 -6 15
B. Campbell 47 3 12 0 15
D. Kulikov 42 1 13 -4 14
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 18 12 8 .920 2.41
A. Montoya 3 4 2 .891 2.96
 
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