Friday, June 29, 2012

The Cat's Meow: Draft Recap, Free Agent Frenzy, Pavel Bure, and Development Camp

The Draft
This past weekend in Pittsburgh, the Florida Panthers made their choices and drafted five junior players who will have the opportunity to one day don the Panthers red and blue. Below is a list of players taken, and their rounds.

First Round: Pick #23 
Michael Matheson (D)
Height: 6'1"
Weight: 178 lbs
Shoots: Left
Team: Dubuque, USHL
Country: Canada
Last Season: Led all Dubuque defensemen with 27 points and was tied for sixth in overall scoring. 

Second Round: No picks

Third Round: Pick #84
Steven Hodges (C)
Height: 5'11"
Weight: 178 lbs
Shoots: Left
Team: Victoria, WHL
Country: Canada
Last Season: Was sixth in points (46) for Victoria forwards and was one of four players to play the full 72-game season, not including the playoffs.

Fourth Round: Pick #114
Alexander Delnov (LW)
Height: 6'0"
Weight: 187 lbs
Shoots: Left
Team: Mytischi 2, Russia-JR.
Country: Russia
Review: Played 47 games, scored eleven goals and collected eleven helpers last season.

Fifth Round: No picks

Sixth Round: Pick #174
Francis Beauvillier (C & LW)
Height: 6'1"
Weight: 180 lbs
Shoots: Left
Team: Rimouski, QMJHL
Country: Canada
Review: Scored 23 goals and logged 75 PIM last season.

Seventh Round: Pick #194
Jonatan Nielsen (D)
Height: 6'3"
Weight: 183 lbs
Shoots: Right
Team: Linkoping Jr., Swe-JR.
Country: Sweden
Review: Played 38 games, scored five goals, four assists and logged 24 PIM.

Free Agent Frenzy
The infamous Free Agent Frenzy does not actually start until Sunday, but the Florida Panthers have their eyes on several free agents, and have to take care of some business of their own.
  • The Panthers sent qualifying offers to nine of their restricted free agents: (D) Mike Caruso, (D) Roman Derlyuk(D) Keaton Ellerby, (G) Brian Foster, (D) Dmitry Kulikov(F) Michal Repik, (F) Eric Selleck, (F) Kris Versteeg, and (F) James Wright. Of those nine, Ellerby, Kulikov, and Versteeg were the only to participate in the playoffs. 
  • The Panthers have thirteen restricted free agents: (LW) Wojtek Wolski, (RW) Kris Versteeg, (D) Dmitry Kulikov,  (C) James Wright, (D) Roman Derlyuk, (RW) Michal Repik, (D) Keaton Ellerby, (C) Ondrej Roman, (LW) Eric Selleck, (G) Brian Foster, (D) Keith Seabrook, (D) Mike Caruso, and (C) Justin Bernhardt.
  • And twelve unrestricted free agents: (RW) Mikael Samuelsson, (LW) Marco Sturm, (G) Scott Clemmensen, (RW) Krystofer Barch, (C) Bracken Kearns, (D) Jason Garrison, (C) Mark Cullen, (C) John Madden, (RW) Bill Thomas, (C) Greg Rallo, (D) Sean Sullivan, and (C) John Matsumoto.
  • Coach Kevin Dineen has expressed that he would like management to re-sign (RW) Mikael Samuelsson. Samuelsson, 35, played 46 games since his trade to Florida from Vancouver and had 13 goals and 15 assists since his arrival, including five assists in seven playoff games. 
  • (D) Jason Garrison would like to remain in South Florida, as he is a pending unrestricted free agent, but has not ruled out testing free agent waters. As of June 20th, he has received a new contract offer. According to The Hockey News, no team has contacted the Panthers regarding acquiring Garrison's rights.  
  • The Panthers would also like to re-sign restricted free agent (RW) Kris Versteeg, an integral part to the team's success this season. Seeing that he is an RFA, it is almost certain that he will re-sign.
  • (G) Scott Clemmensen is said to be one of the best free agent goalies in this year's market. As of June 6th, the Florida Panthers also sent him a new contract offer. Columbus GM Scott Howson has expressed an interesting in adding more stability to the crease, and Clemmensen might just be one an option.
  • P.A Parenteau, New York Islanders, RW: Considered one of the best forwards in this summer's free agent class, Parenteau flourished alongside John Tavares and Matt Moulson last season. A 67-point season with 18 goals makes me wonder what it'd be like if he stopped and shot more. A new team could find him in a similar role as a set-up winger. 
  • Andrei Kostitsyn, Nashville Predators, RW & LW: Considered a so-called 'problem child' after his curfew-breaking incident during last year's playoffs. After six and half seasons with the Montreal Canadiens, Andrei was reunited with his brother, Sergei, in the middle of last season, leading to a jump in production. His reunion with his brother is not credited as the reason for his recent successes, but he can produce in the right situation and be considered a top-six forward. 
  • Roberto Luongo, Vancouver Canucks, G: Rumors have been swirling since Luongo admitted he would not want to stand in the way of the Canucks success and would be unopposed if management decided to move him. A former Florida Panther, he spent five seasons with the team before being traded to the Canucks prior to the 2006-2007 season--a trade considered one of the worst in hockey history. There is no logical reason for the Florida Panthers to trade for him; as they have promising goalie prospect Jacob Markstrom in the minors, yet reports have surfaced that Luongo himself has refused to move his no-trade clause to any team but Florida. 
Pavel Bure
  • Former Florida Panther Pavel Bure is one of the newest Hockey Hall of Fame inductees, along with fellow members of the Class of 2012; Joe Sakic, Mats Sundin, and Adam Oates. Bure, who spent four seasons with the Panthers and was a five-time 50 goal scorer, is considered long overdue for his nod after being eligible since 2006. Though his 12-year playing career was cut short by consistent knee issues, the "Russian Rocket" posted 779 points in 702 games.  
Development Camp
  • 36 Florida Panthers prospects (24 forwards, eight defensemen and four goalies) will attend the Florida Panthers development camp. Camp opens on Monday, July 2, and will take place at Iceplex in Coral Springs. All on-ice sessions are free and open to the public. The camp's complete roster can be found here. The on-ice schedule is below and its dates, times and players are all subject to change without notice. 
Monday, July 2: 1pm-4pm (practice)
Tuesday, July 3: 9am-11am (practice)
Thursday, July 5: 9am-11am (practice/scrimmage)
Friday, July 6: 9am-11am (scrimmage)

Best of luck to all the rookies!

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