A Look Towards The Future: Drew Shore

For the past couple of seasons the Florida Panthers have been one of the worst teams in the National Hockey League. As much as I hate to say that, it’s true. However, despite years of mediocrity, things seem to finally be changing. The addition of Dale Tallon as the general manager might just be the best thing to have ever happen to this once struggling franchise. Even though the team saw great success last year, the offense wasn’t very good. This has been a problem for the Panthers over the years; however, with young players such as Jonathan Huberdeau, Sean Bergenheim, and Kris Versteeg showing fantastic promise, things seem to be headed in the right direction for this Panthers offense.

Another one of these young players that not too many people know about is Drew Shore. After a great career with the USA Hockey National Team Development Program U-17 team and U-18 team, Shore was drafted by the Florida Panthers with the 44th overall pick during the 2009 NHL Entry Draft.  However, after he was drafted by the Panthers, he decided to play college hockey at the University of Denver. While at the University of Denver, Shore excelled to the top of the depth chart and during his last season as a Pioneer, he scored a career best 53 points (22 goals, 31 assist). His above average knowledge went along great with his great mobility and size. Not only can Shore skate well, but he can also get a little physical if he needs to.

Shore was able to join the Rampage last season towards the end of the year. In his eight games played, he scored a total three points (1 goal, 2 assist). This season is a little bit different. In his first full season with the Rampage, Shore has stepped up to be one of the leaders of this team. In the 28 games that he has played in so far, Shore has posted a total of 18 points. His total of 18 points puts him in second place on the team for most points, behind Jon Rheault.  It is good to see the Panthers continuously developing young talent who is succeeding. Hopefully Shore can continue to put up these numbers for the rest of the season. Although he probably won’t see action in a Panthers uniform this season coming up; however, if he can continue to play like this, it won’t be long before he finds his way into the big leagues.

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Want More Hockey News? Follow The Rat Pack on Twitter! Me: @PP_Justen, Frank Rekas: @TheRatTrick Josh Luecht: @joshluecht, Patrick McLaughlin: @PatrickRattrick, Scott Mullin: @GreatScottsman, David Rodriguez: @davidbub_2, Paige Lewis:@RatTrickLewiz, Adam Reid: @AdamReid_, Gabby Kiger: @gabbykiger, Chrissy Parente: @Chrissaay44, and Amanda Land: @HockeyGirl2530!

 

A Look Towards The Future: Jacob Markstrom

Photo Credit: Wikimedia CommonsAuthor: Canada Hky

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Author: Canada Hky

Let’s face it; ever since the Florida Panthers traded star goaltender Roberto Luongo to the Vancouver Canucks, they have been desperately trying to find a replacement goaltender. Since then we have seen players like Tomas Vokoun, Jose Theodore, and Scott Clemmensen take over as the man in between the pipes. The Panthers thought they have found their new guy when they brought in Tomas Vokoun. Despite playing well for four seasons in a Florida uniform, the team wasn’t having overall success. The Panthers then decided to go in a different direction, by signing Jose Theodore as their starting goalie prior to last year. The move turned out to be a success as the Panthers were able to clinch a playoff spot by winning the Southeast Division. Although Theodore helped lead the team to the playoffs, there were tons of rumors going around that Luongo wanted to come back to the Panthers; however, that never happened. During this span of  six years, the Panthers decided it would be a good idea to draft a goalie and groom him in the AHL. The goalie that was drafted was Jacob Markstrom. [Read more...]

A Look Towards The Future: Alex Petrovic

There are a lot of fantastic young players who have the potential to be great one day playing currently playing for the San Antonio Rampage. While the team is stacked to the top with these great young prospects, a few of them really stick out. One of those players is defender Alex Petrovic. Alex Petrovic was selected by the Florida Panthers 36th overall during the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. You might recall that that was the same year that the Florida Panthers selected Erik Gudbranson with the 3rd overall selection.  The decision to go with two defenders within the first couple of rounds showed that the Panthers were slowly, but surely trying to get younger at the position. So far we have all seen what Gudbranson could do; however, we have yet to see what Petrovic could do in a NHL uniform. Hopefully we get a chance to see just what the youngster could do. [Read more...]

A Look Towards The Future: Jonathan Huberdeau

When Dale Tallon took over as the Florida Panthers general manager on May 17th, 2010, a sense of hope was restored into, let’s be honest a franchise that wasn’t very good. In his first draft as the Panthers GM, Tallon took Erik Gudbranson, the big defender, who at the time was a young 18 years old. After watching Gudbranson play a full season with the Panthers, I think it is safe to say that that pick was definitely a home run, as the sky is the limit for Gudbranson. [Read more...]

Progress Report: Filip Kuba

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Author: Wknight94

Ever since the lockout became official, multiple players throughout the league decided it was in their best interest to take their talents overseas. There has been many high profile players signing with teams overseas, such as Alexander Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals, Evgeni Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins, and Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks. The Florida Panthers are a team that has seen a lot of their talent go overseas. The team has seen the departure of players such as Dmitry Kulikov, Sean Bergenheim, Tomas Kopecky, Filip Kuba, Mike Santorelli, and Marcel Goc. [Read more...]

Dmitry Kulikov Under Performing In Russia

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Author: Marcusvfx

Ever since the Florida Panthers drafted Dmitry Kulikov 14th overall in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, he, along with Erik Gudbranson, have been labeled as “the future” of the Panthers defense.  In his first full three seasons with the Florida Panthers, Kulikov has been nothing but productive. Every year he continues to improve his game both offensively and defensively. Despite battling through a variety of injuries during the span of three years, Kulikov is continuing to prove to everyone that the Panthers made the correct decision when then selected him in the draft. The future is definitely looking bright for Dmitry here in Florida, however, as of now he still remains unsigned. The good thing for the Panthers is he has openly come out saying he wishes to return to the team once the lockout is over.

The lockout, yes we are all getting sick of it and we are all wishing it ends soon. It seems as if every week I get a text to my phone from ESPN saying that the two sides are in the process of negotiating a deal or are going to re-open talks come Monday. Unfortunately I have yet to get a text saying the two sides have come to an agreement and the season will start again in a few weeks.

Since the lockout began, multiple Panther players have gone overseas to continue to work on their game. Dmitry Kulikov is one of those players. It didn’t take long for Kulikov to make up his mind to go play overseas, as he signed with Lokomotiv Yaroslavl shortly after the lockout was announced. Although he has said that he would like to return to the Cats, Kulikov playing in Russia during the lockout has put a lot of us Panther fans on edge. There is no guarantee that he will return to the NHL once the lockout is over. What if realizes that he enjoys playing there more than he does in America? What if he realizes he could make more money while in Russia than he can here in America? If he does enjoy it more there and the opportunity to make more money comes out, what will stop him from coming back to playing in a Panther uniform? I am not saying he will stay over there, but since he isn’t currently under contract with us, the chances of him being able to stay there increase dramatically.

Enough of the, what ifs, let’s talk about how he is currently performing in Russia. Since joining Lokomotiv Yaroslavl, Kulikov has played in a total of 15 games. To say that he has been under performing is an understatement in my opinion. Kulikov is basically playing like he is a rookie again. Even though he has shown that he could come through when it is needed, his overall play has left a lot to be desired. In the 15 games, Kulikov has scored a total of 4 points (3 goals, 1 assist). He also has a negative plus minus at -3 and on top of that, he has already been in the penalty box for a total of 22 minutes. In 58 games last season, Kulikov was only in the box for a total of 36 minutes. Hopefully this isn’t a sign of things to come for him and he gets back to his old self. The good thing about all of this is Kulikov just celebrated his 22nd birthday just a few weeks ago, so he is still young and has plenty of time to mature. I just think that at this point, Panther fans and executives are just praying that he doesn’t sustain and injury.

Thanks For Reading!

Want More Hockey News? Follow The Rat Pack on Twitter! Me: @PP_Justen, Frank Rekas: @TheRatTrick Josh Luecht: @joshluecht, Patrick McLaughlin: @PatrickRattrick, Scott Mullin: @GreatScottsman, David Rodriguez: @davidbub_2, Paige Lewis:@RatTrickLewiz, Adam Reid: @AdamReid_, Gabby Kiger: @gabbykiger, Chrissy Parente: @Chrissaay44, and Amanda Land: @HockeyGirl2530!

Filip Kuba Headed To HC Vitkovice Steel

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Author: Michael Miller

It is now official. The Florida Panthers have lost yet another player due to the NHL lockout. Filip Kuba, one of the newest members of the Florida Panthers, is now the newest member of HC Vitkovice Steel.  Filip Kuba, who recently signed a two year, $8 million deal with the Panthers this past offseason, is now taking his talents back to his native country of the Czech Republic. Kuba had previously played with HC Vitkovice on both a junior level and a professional level.

Throughout his nearly 15 year long career in the National Hockey League, Kuba has never been the guy who can completely take over a game; however, he has been as consistent as they come. Kuba, who isn’t exactly a goal scorer, gains most of his points every year by assists. Not only is he a great passer, he is also a very good defender. The one big knock on Kuba is he fails to make good use of his size. Standing at 6’4 and weighing in at around 225 pounds, Kuba should be known for being a big physical defender, but he is not. Once hockey starts back up here in America, it should be interesting to see exactly how he will fit in with this Panther team. Hopefully it ends up being a good signing for the Panthers, and at four million dollars a year, it better be.

The Panthers gave Kuba the contract they did because last year, Kuba was very productive. Even at 35, Kuba showed that he still has what it takes to produce for a team, scoring 32 points off of 6 goals and 26 assists. Despite what was a fantastic year, Kuba will be turning 36 next month. We Panther fans are hoping that he could continue to be productive even though he is getting up there in age. With the loss of Jason Garrison, Kuba needs to produce at a high level on both the offensive side and the defensive side.

Thanks For Reading!

Want More Hockey News? Follow The Rat Pack on Twitter! Me: @PP_Justen, Frank Rekas: @TheRatTrick Josh Luecht: @joshluecht, Patrick McLaughlin: @PatrickRattrick, Scott Mullin: @GreatScottsman, David Rodriguez: @davidbub_2, Paige Lewis:@RatTrickLewiz, Adam Reid: @AdamReid_, Gabby Kiger: @gabbykiger, Chrissy Parente: @Chrissaay44, and Amanda Land: @HockeyGirl2530!

Marcel Goc: Taking Over Germany, One Point At A Time

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Author: BKLuis
Marcel Goc (left)

The past few months have been a difficult one for us hockey fans. With the NHL and the NHLPA still not being able to come to an agreement it’s discouraging. You would think that a billion dollar corporation would make sure that work would continue as usual, however that doesn’t seem to be the case, as both sides continue to be stubborn about the entire situation. The lockout has had a lasting effect on a wide range of different people. Whether you’re a fan of the game, a player, or even someone who works as a cleanup guy for the arena, you have probably felt some of the effects. Unfortunately, no one knows exactly when this lockout will come to an end.  Hopefully its sooner rather than later.

With no NHL here in North America, many of the players have resorted to going overseas and signing with teams in a multitude of different leagues across the Eastern Hemisphere. Players have been signing with teams in many different countries such as Germany, Russia, and even Sweden. [Read more...]

Panther Players Injured Overseas

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Author: Michael Miller

The NHL lockout is never a fun topic to talk about. As all of us fans continue to pray that the two sides stop being so stubborn and come to an agreement, players throughout the league are continuously signing with teams overseas. For the Florida Panthers, we have seen many of our players go across the ocean. Whether it was our great young defender, Dmitry Kulikov, or one of our veterans such as Tomas Kopecky, multiple players from the Florida Panthers have decided to go to Europe to get some playing time in untill the lockout is settled.

When a player chooses to go play overseas, they know there is a huge risk involved. The style of hockey that is played in the Eastern side of the world is much different from what they’re used to here in the states. Even with the chance of injury being there, the players still go overseas nonetheless. In my opinion, one of the biggest reasons for the move overseas is you cannot go a whole year without contact and then just play at the same level once hockey starts up again. Unfortunately with contact, there are always injuries. I never enjoy watching players get injured in any sport, no matter who the player is, or what team that player plays for. For example, it is safe to say that I am not a fan of Sidney Crosby, however, when he went down with his concussion, I knew that hit could completely change his career. In two seasons since, Crosby was only able to play a total of 63 games. Injuries are a very serious thing, and as a fan, it hurts a lot more when it’s a player from your favorite team. [Read more...]

Top Ten Florida Panther Players Of 2011-2012. #1 Brian Campbell

Brian Campbell. Source: Weblogny.com

Every franchise in the National Hockey League can safely label a specific player as their “franchise” player. A franchise player could be described as an athlete who is not only the team’s best player, but also a player that the front office knows they can build their team around. For the past decade or so, Stephen Weiss has been the cornerstone of the Florida Panthers franchise, however, after last season; I think it is clear that it has shifted to defenseman, Brian Campbell.  He didn’t score the most points, he didn’t have the most goals, he didn’t even have a positive plus-minus last year; however, in my opinion Brian Campbell was the best all-around player on last year’s Florida Panthers team.

2011-2012 Statistics:

Games Played: 82

Goals: 4

Assist: 49

Points: 53

Penalty Minutes: 6 [Read more...]

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