Florida Panthers Re-Sign RFA Brandon Pirri

Today the Florida Panthers announced the re-signing of F Brandon Pirri to a two-year contract, worth $925K AAV. Pirri, 23 was a late season acquisition by Florida after trading a 2014 third round pick and a 2016 fifth round pick to the Chicago Blackhawks for the young forward.

Playing in 21 games for the Panthers, Pirri posted 14 points (7-7-14) and became one of the team’s most relied on players as the season came to a close. During the 2012-13 season, Pirri spent time playing for the Rockford Icehogs of the AHL, where he led the league in points, scoring 75 points (22-53-75) in 76 games.

A second round (59th overall) draft choice by the Blackhawks in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, Pirri has a deceivingly powerful and accurate shot for his size (6’0″, 183 lbs). During his short campaign with Florida last season, Pirri posted an impressive 15.2% shooting percentage and also recorded five power play points (2-3-5).

Pirri has played in 56 career NHL games posting 27 points (13-14-27).

 

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Panther Parkway Radio: Bylsma Fired, Prospect Signings, Draft, Free Agency & More!

Tune in to tonight’s show where we discuss the biggest NHL & Florida Panthers news of the week!

Host: Paige Lewis

Guests: Jameson Cooper, Mike Lewis, and Mike Obrand

Topics

  • Dan Bylsma Fired
  • Bylsma a good fit for Florida?
  • Panthers made 5 off-season signings.
  • Panthers draft discussion
  • Dave Bolland a good fit for Florida?
  • Best free agents for Florida

New Episode Here

We welcome your comments and feedback!

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Panthers Sign 2012 Third-Round Pick Steven Hodges

Sunday evening, the Florida Panthers announced their 5th prospect signing of the off-season, inking center Steven Hodges to an entry-level deal. Hodges, 20, was selected in the 3rd round of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft in Pittsburgh.

The gritty centerman has spent the last 5 seasons with both the Chilliwack Bruins and the Victoria Royals of the WHL. This year, although plagued with injuries, Hodges managed to tally an impressive 47 points in 52 regular season games. Adding to this impressive feat, Hodges lead all skaters on the Royals in playoff points with 10 points (4g-6a) in 9 games.

Hockey’s Future Talent Analysis on Steven Hodge’s:

“Hodges is an excellent skater who has shown a nose for the net and has some grit to his game. He has a high hockey IG and makes solid reads at both ends of the ice. At this stage, Hodges appears to be a candidate for second- or third-line duty, assuming he improves his two-way play. Hodges added height and weight last season and now stands at 6’0 and 175 pounds but he will have to get stronger in order to be effective at higher levels of hockey.”

In adding more depth at center, the middle of the ice for Florida and San Antonio is starting to take shape. Both Panthers’ and Rampage fans can take solace in knowing that Hodges, Aleksander Barkov, Nick Bjugstad, Brandon Pirri, Drew Shore, Ryan Martindale, Vincent Trocheck and Rocco Grimaldi will make up a strong centering core for years to come.

 

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Cincinnati Cyclones Headed To Kelly Cup Finals

Last night, the Florida Panthers/Nashville Predators ECHL affiliate, Cincinnati Cyclones were crowned the Eastern Conference Champions and are bound for the Kelly Cup Finals. In a thrilling overtime finish, which included the series clinching goal scored by Panthers prospect, Jonathan Hazen, the Cyclones were able to wrap the series up against the Greenville Road Warriors (New York Rangers affiliate) in six games. Hazen’s game winner was his sixth of the postseason and his second of the contest, earning him first star honors. Hazen has 14 points (6-8-14) in 18 games.

Panther prospect, Josh McFadden finished with 6 shots on goal and an assist on Hazen’s first goal of the night. Cyclones goaltender, Rob Madore, a darling of the 2013-14 Panthers Training Camp starred for Cincinnati stopping 28 of 30 shots on the night and finishing as the game’s second star.

Aside from the Panthers prospects in this game, there was a little more South Florida flavor involved with Rangers prospect and Coral Springs, FL native Andrew Yogan playing as the opposition. Yogan was the game’s third star and recorded a goal and an assist and finished the postseason leading his team in points with 18 points (7-11-18) in 17 games.

The Cyclones will face  the Alaska Aces (Calgary Flames) for the Kelly Cup.

Panthers Recall F Bobby Butler and D Jonathan Racine

The wave of call-ups continues for the Florida Panthers as Executive Vice President and General Manager Dale Tallon announced today that F Bobby Butler and D Jonathan Racine have been recalled from the San Antonio Rampage (AHL).

Butler, 26, has played in 128 career National Hockey League games with Ottawa (2009-12), New Jersey (2013) and Nashville (2013), recording 48 points (20-28-48) while trying to find a foothold in the NHL. Though he didn’t make the Panthers’ roster out of training camp, Butler has shined as one of the Rampage’s best and most reliable players this season, recording 45 points (21-24-45) and 12 penalty minutes.

Racine, 20, has appeared in 48 games for San Antonio this season, collecting six points (0-6-6) and 85 penalty minutes as one of the team’s top enforcers.

A former third-round pick (87th overall) in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, Racine will hope to make his NHL debut tonight against the New York Islanders at 7:00 p.m. on FOX Sports Florida.

[Read more...]

Panther Parkway Radio: Luongo, Free Agency, Young Guns & More!

Tune in to tonight’s show where we discuss the biggest Florida Panthers news of the week!

Host: Paige Lewis

Guests:  Jameson Cooper and Mike Lewis (no relations to Paige)

Topics

  • How is Roberto Luongo doing?
  • Panthers injuries
  • The young guys are making an impact
  • Free Agency. Should we break the bank?
  • Johnny Mac, Ian McCoshen, Wade Megan are the coolest
  • Boring Sean Monahan is the best

 Click the link below for today’s podcast!

New Episode Here

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Garrett Wilson Set to Make NHL Debut Tonight

What’s the best present you can give a young hockey player on his birthday? A shot at the NHL. That’s exactly what Florida Panthers prospect Garrett Wilson received on his 23rd birthday. Officially called up the day after his birthday on Mar. 17, Wilson will make his NHL debut tonight as the Panthers face the San Jose Sharks in the “Shark Tank”. Many prospects within the Panthers system have their names thrown around as future stars in the big league like Rocco Grimaldi, Kyle Rau, and Michael Matheson, but few times has Wilson’s name come up. While Wilson isn’t a flashy or dazzling player, he is certainly a heart and soul character player that is a valuable piece to the San Antonio Rampage of the AHL.

Wilson holds the distinction of being one of few players in Panthers history to be drafted by short-lived GM Randy Sexton. Selected in the fourth round (107th overall) of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, Wilson was looked at as a solid power forward that possessed a bit of a mean streak as well as the means to put up points as well. Posting 86 points (40-46-86) in 66 games in his final junior season with the Owen Sound Attack, Wilson served as team captain during the Attack’s 2011 OHL Championship berth.

Following that season, Wilson went pro. Signing a three-year entry level contract with the Panthers and finding himself splitting time between the  Rampage and Cincinnati Cyclones of the ECHL. Wilson spent the bulk of his first pro season in Cincinnati posting 35 points (17-18-35) in 63 games with the Cyclones and proved to be one of the team’s top players. Wilson posted one goal in 11 games with the Rampage that season.

[Read more...]

Panthers Recall F Joey Crabb and D Mike Mottau From San Antonio

With recent injuries to F Jesse Winchester and D Erik Gudbranson, Florida Panthers General Manager Dale Tallon announced today that the team has recalled F Joey Crabb and D Mike Mottau from their AHL affiliate, the San Antonio Rampage.

Crabb, 30, has proven to be a quality AHL talent this season for the Rampage, recording 26 points (12-14-26) in 53 games played while serving as a mentor to some of the team’s younger players.

Making his NHL debut during the 2008-09 season with the Atlanta Thrashers, Crabb has tallied 52 total points (20-32-52) in 171 career NHL games.

Mottau, 35, has played in seven games for the Panthers this season, while also appearing in 15 games with San Antonio registering three points (1-2-3) in the AHL.

[Read more...]

San Antonio Rampage Sign Goalie Rob Madore

A day after trading veteran AHL netminder Dov Grumet-Morris to Hartford, the Florida Panthers announced today that they have signed 25-year-old goaltender Rob Madore to a one-year AHL contract with the San Antonio Rampage.

Madore, a surprising standout from the Panthers’ training camp earlier this year, has spent the majority of this season between the pipes for the Panthers’ ECHL affiliate, the Cincinnati Cyclones.

While with the Cyclones, Madore earned an 8-3-0 record while posting a 2.94 goals-against average and a .905 save percentage.

An undrafted free agent out the University of Vermont, Madore floated around the East Coast Hockey League last season, seeing time with the Chicago Express, South Carolina Stingrays, Evansville Icemen, and Florida Everblades. Madore’s big break came when the Carolina Hurricanes’ AHL affiliate, the Charlotte Checkers, brought him on board toward the end of the 2012-2013 season.

While in Charlotte, Madore really came into his own – boasting a 1.83 goals-against average with a  .951 save percentage in nine games played.

[Read more...]

Panthers’ Prospects: 3 Stars of the Month (October Edition)

Although the Florida Panthers may be off to a cold start this season, their group of talented young prospects are hotter than ever in their respective junior leagues. Dale Tallon and the Panthers have been accumulating top prospects over the past several seasons and each year we get to sit back and marvel at the growth and development of the future stars in the making.

Below, I list my top 3 Panthers’ Prospects for the month of October:

1. Christopher Clapperton

Drafted in the 5th round by the Florida Panthers this season, the Quebec native Christopher Clapperton has been a man on a mission during the month of October as he currently sits 13th in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League in points, scoring a whopping 23 points (7g-16a-23p) in just 13 games played. In fact, Clapperton is the only player in the top 20  who hasn’t played 15 or more games. Clapperton finished 2nd in scoring with the Blainville-Boisbriand of the QMJHL last season, and has shown no signs of slowing down as he leads his team in both points and assists. While Clapperton may not have the foot-speed and size of other young Panthers’ prospects, he has the determination and willingness to create plays and find the back of the net, and often, which he has shown thus far. Clapperton has also proved that he’s not just a player that shows up on the score sheet, but can also play a physical, and gritty style game which he brings with him night after night. So far this season alone, he’s racked up just enough PIMs (20) to put him with the 3rd most on his team, and 14th amongst the top 40 scorers in the QMJHL.

2. Vincent Trocheck

Over the past few weeks, Panthers’ fans have been screaming out for Panther’s prospect Vincent Trocheck to make his NHL debut to help give the Panthers the scoring spark they so desperately need. While I don’t necessarily agree that Trocheck is the answer at the moment, I certainly understand the desperation from fans. The 20-year-old Pittsburgh native who won both the scoring title (109 pts) and league MVP with the Plymouth Whalers last season, recently made the jump to the American Hockey League, currently residing in Texas with the San Antonio Rampage. There are always uncertainties with players who make the jump from a junior league to a pro league, but so far Trocheck has shown no signs of slowing his game down. The speedy centerman currently leads his team with 9 points in 8 games, and sits tied for 2nd in rookie points, just behind Tampa Bay Lightning prospect, Nikita Kucherov.

3. Kyle Rau

With the Minnesota Gophers 2013-2014 season already 6 games in, Kyle Rau has wasted no time adjusting to life without line-mate and current Panther centerman, Nick Bjugstad. With a handful of highly touted college prospects in the Florida Panthers system such as Mike Matheson, Ian McCoshen, and Rocco Grimaldi, it’s Kyle Rau who comes out on top for the month of October with 8 points in 6 games, and a 1.33 points-per-game average. With a little help from their Captain who is 4th in the NCAA assists category with 7 helpers, the Gophers currently sit at the top of the NCAA Men’s Ice Hockey Division 1 standings with a strong 5-0-1 record.

 

Honorable Mentions:

  • Mackenzie Weegar- QMJHL- (3g-12a-15p in 17 gms)
  • Rocco Grimaldi-NCAA- (2g-3a-5p in 5 gms)
  • Alexander Delnov- WHL- (7g-8a-15p in 15 gms)
  • Ian McCoshen- NCAA- (2g-1a-3p in 5 gms)

Thanks for reading.  We welcome your comments and opinions.

Follow the Panther Parkway crew on Twitter: Frank Rekas @FrankRekas, David Lasseter @davidlasseter , Paige Lewis @PaigeLewisFL, Jameson Cooper @JamesonCoop, and Amanda Land @HockeyGirl2530.  Also, please join our FaceBook Fan Page and hit the like button, send us photos, and tell us what’s on your mind.

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