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From The Press Box


From The Press Box is a weekly column written by FloridaPanthers.com and NHL.com writer Alain Poupart. Poupart has been covering the Panthers and the NHL for 20 years.

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Dylan’s Dandy Debut

Recently acquired defenseman Dylan Olsen shows intriguing potential in his first game in a Panthers uniform

Wednesday, 11.27.2013 / 11:00 AM ET / From The Press Box
By Alain Poupart  - FloridaPanthers.com
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Dylan\u2019s Dandy Debut
Defenseman Dylan Olsen moves the puck against the Philadelphia Flyers in his Panthers' debut Monday.

The Panthers and their fans almost immediately got to see one of the two prospects acquired in the trade that sent veteran forward Kris Versteeg to Chicago.

Big forward Jimmy Hayes made his Panthers debut two nights after the trade was consummated, playing in a 4-1 victory at Colorado.

It took a little while longer for the other prospect to arrive, but defenseman Dylan Olsen made his Panthers debut Monday night and it proved worth the wait.

Olsen came advertised as a big-bodied defenseman not afraid to throw his body around and with some puck-moving ability. And that’s pretty much what he showed in the impressive 3-1 victory against the Philadelphia Flyers at the BB&T Center.

Coach Peter Horachek praised Olsen’s work after the game, but he already had shown what he thought of his new defenseman during the game by giving him 19:10 of ice time. Here’s an impressive number: Olsen got 1:44 of ice time with the Panthers short-handed, which represented the third-highest total among Panthers defensemen behind veterans Brian Campbell and Mike Weaver.

Finally, Olsen and defense partner Erik Gudbranson both had the best plus-minus ratios on the team at plus-2.

Yes, it was quite the debut for Olsen, who was called up from San Antonio of the AHL on Sunday after playing three games with the Rampage.

Ironically, Olsen was the last first-round pick made by Dale Tallon as Blackhawks general manager in the 2009 NHL draft, and one can quickly see the potential in the guy. As a great aside, Chicago’s first-round pick the following year was a forward named Kevin Hayes, who just happens to be the younger brother of Jimmy Hayes.

In some ways, it was fitting that Olsen was paired with Gudbranson for his first game at the BB&T Center because the two of them not only were teammates on Canada’s Under-18 national team, they also have a similar skill set.

Those two also are part of a nice group of young defensemen in the organization, whether already in the NHL or on the way.

Along with Olsen and Gudbranson, there’s Dmitry Kulikov, who might be in his fifth season but is still only 23, San Antonio standout Alex Petrovic, and 2012 first-round pick Michael Matheson, who is now a sophomore at Boston College.

One of Matheson’s teammates on that BC team is defenseman Ian McCoshen, the Panthers’ second-round pick in the 2013 draft. Another is the aforementioned Kevin Hayes.

Back to Olsen, the game Monday night was his Panthers debut but not his first NHL regular season action. That had come during a 28-game stint with the Blackhawks in the 2011-12 season.

His very first NHL game had come, just like his Panthers debut, against the Philadelphia Flyers. After the morning skate Monday, Olsen recalled that first NHL game and said his most vivid memory was Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds taking a run at him.

Olsen joked he would be looking for Simmonds that night and, sure enough, during a little scrum in the third period there were Olsen and Simmonds face-to-face behind the Panthers net. Olsen certainly didn’t back down from the physical Simmonds, just like he didn’t back down from the challenge of his first game in a Panthers uniform.

Olsen, as well as Hayes, have seen the trade to the Panthers as a big opportunity to jump-start their career. For the Panthers, the trade gave them two young prospects with big bodies and intriguing potential to put in the lineup.

In the early going at least, it sure looks like the Panthers got themselves a keeper on the blue line.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 51 38 9 4 166 114 80
2 FLA 52 31 15 6 143 115 68
3 NYR 52 29 18 5 148 134 63
4 TBL 51 29 18 4 137 118 62
5 BOS 52 28 18 6 151 137 62
6 NYI 51 27 18 6 143 127 60
7 DET 52 26 18 8 130 131 60
8 PIT 51 26 18 7 132 130 59
9 NJD 53 26 20 7 119 120 59
10 CAR 54 24 21 9 130 142 57
11 MTL 54 26 24 4 143 143 56
12 PHI 51 23 19 9 121 133 55
13 OTT 53 24 23 6 148 165 54
14 BUF 53 21 26 6 120 139 48
15 TOR 51 19 23 9 117 140 47
16 CBJ 54 21 28 5 135 168 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Jagr 49 16 21 11 37
J. Huberdeau 52 10 27 10 37
A. Barkov 42 16 19 13 35
J. Jokinen 52 10 25 12 35
V. Trocheck 52 17 16 4 33
R. Smith 52 16 15 11 31
B. Pirri 48 10 13 -4 23
A. Ekblad 48 10 12 21 22
B. Campbell 52 4 16 17 20
N. Bjugstad 37 9 8 -3 17
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 23 13 5 .930 2.13
A. Montoya 8 2 1 .931 1.93

 
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