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 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

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
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
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 35 19 6 .922 2.35
A. Montoya 12 7 3 .919 2.18

 
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