After sitting out the last three games to nurse his ailing wrist, Panthers’ rookie forward Drew Shore is reportedly set to return to the lineup on Thursday against the Winnipeg Jets. However, much like Odysseus returning to Ithaca after the Trojan War, Shore’s surroundings in Florida will be very different than he remembers.
Having already lost his top-line spot to the inspired play of fellow center Shawn Matthias, Shore had been trying to find a new fit in the Panthers’ lineup prior to suffering his injury. While Shore has shown that the talent to anchor one the team’s top 2 lines for the remainder of the season, the landscape of the Panthers’ has undergone some crucial change since his departure.
After taking a brief hiatus to nurse his ailing wrist, Panthers’ rookie forward Drew Shore is reportedly set to return to the lineup on Saturday night – thus beginning the 3rd and final chapter of his roller coaster rookie season.
In a season in which much of the focus was placed on the arrival of Panthers’ top-prospect Jonathan Huberdeau, fellow NHL neophyte Drew Shore quietly put together his own impressive rookie resume. In 34 games this season, Shore has accumulated 11 points (2G 9A) while seeing time on both the power play and penalty killing units.
Although his point total may seem low at first, it is important to note that Shore did most of his statistical damage in a single month . During the month of February, Shore led all NHL rookies in scoring with 10 points (2G 8A) and seemed as if he was destined to be the next great Florida Panther alongside Jonathan Huberdeau. However, from the beginning of March until now, Shore’s production has dipped – scoring only 1 point – as he continues to fight through the first rough patch of his young career.
Less than 24-hours into his career as a Florida Panther and Nick Bjugstad is already being given the full NHL treatment. Shortly after landing in South Florida, the former Minnesota Gopher was invited to sit down with Panthers’ play-by-play man, Steve Goldstein.
Set to make his NHL debut this Saturday against the Washington Capitals, this is just the first of many interviews and conversations that Bjugstad will participate in throughout the final month of the 2012-2013 season. Considering how well both Jonathan Huberdeau and Drew Shore have played this season, the bar is set pretty high for the newcomer Bjugstad. However, given his size and enthusiasm, I see no reason why he won’t continue the trend of successful Panthers’ rookies this season.
Check out Nick Bjugstad’s first interview as a member of the Florida Panthers - video courtesy of the team.
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Happy Easter hockey fans! While many of you will find Easter baskets filled with chocolate and scratch off lottery tickets waiting for your this morning, we here at Panther Parkway decided to give you a new kind of Easter Egg. For this special holiday, we have put together a list of fun Florida Panthers’ Easter Eggs for you to enjoy. Everything from fun stats to interesting facts about the Panthers’ season are listed below, enjoy!
*Statistics shown are correct as of March 30, 2013.
- Between Stephen Weiss, Sean Bergenheim, Ed Jovanovski, Kris Versteeg, and Jose Theodore, the Panthers currently have $15,875,000 worth of salary out for the remainder of the 2013 season.
- The Florida Panthers are heading towards being the first Southeast Division champion to miss the playoffs the following year since the Atlanta Thrashers failed to reach the playoffs during the 2007-2008 season.
- Panthers’ rookie forward Drew Shore and Head Coach Kevin Dineen both played college hockey for the University of Denver.
- Forward George Parros needs just 21 PIM’s to reach 1000 for his career.
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Although the Panthers are clearly not where they would like to be in the standings, it doesn’t mean that they haven’t had their fair share of exciting moments this season. On a team filled with fresh faces and young offensive talent, the Panthers have quickly become an exciting team to watch not only as a Florida fan, but as a hockey fan in general.
Here are my choices for the top 5 Panthers’ goals in the team’s first 24 games this season.
5. Drew Shore
After coming so close in so many games, rookie Drew Shore was finally able to score his first NHL goal using a lovely deflection.
4. Tomas Kopecky
In possibly one of the best offensive games of his career, Tomas Kopecky used this long empty net goal to seal his first career NHL hat-trick.
During these hard times as I watch the Panthers struggling to find success on a nightly basis, I can’t help but day dream about the future and revel at our deep prospect pool that will one day lead us to a brighter future. Players like Jonathan Huberdeau and Drew Shore are just the tip of the ice berg when it comes to the vast amount of talented players in the Panthers’ pipeline.
In just a few year’s time, Panthers’ fans will be treated to talented skaters like Nick Bjugstad, Quinton Howden, Kyle Rau and Vincent Trocheck. While all four of those skaters are currently having spectacular years in their respective leagues, it is Vincent Trocheck that has been standing out as of late while thoroughly dominating the Ontario Hockey League (OHL).
Selected by the Panthers in the 3rd round (64th overall) in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, Vincent Trocheck became a household name to many hockey fans this year after an impressive performance during the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championships in Russia. In 7 games for Team USA, Trocheck compiled 6 points (3G 3A) including the empty-net goal that sealed the American’s victory over Team Sweden in the championship game. Although his statistics weren’t breathtaking, Trocheck did all the little things on the ice that helped USA win the gold, including impressive defense and smart play.
It was upon his return from Russia that Trocheck really started to flourish as he returned to play with the Plymouth Whalers of the OHL. Trocheck is currently 3rd in scoring in the entire OHL, compiling 98 points (46G 52A) in just 58 games played. During the month of February, Trocheck was absolutely unstoppable, scoring in all 13 games he played in that month. Surprisingly, even with his impressive numbers, Trocheck has only won OHL player of the week honors once this season. However, if he continues his torrid scoring pace, there is a good chance that Trocheck could be in consideration for league MVP when it’s all said and done.
So the question now is what can Panthers’ fans expect from Trocheck in the future?
While he may not have the dazzling scoring abilities of Jonathan Huberdeau, a player like Trocheck is the kind of person that the Panthers need at this point. A skater whose effort is never in question and leads by example on the ice. While Huberdeau may be the team’s elite goal scorer of the future, Trocheck could be the strong 2nd or 3rd liner that wins the tough battles and fights for every loose puck.
Considering General Manager Dale Tallon is not known for rushing prospects, it is more than likely that Trocheck will find his way to AHL’s San Antonio Rampage at the beginning of the 2013-2014 season. After the recent success of both Drew Shore and Jonathan Huberdeau, expectations will be high for the soon to be 20 year-old Trocheck and some time in San Antonio will be a perfect way for him to polish his game. Until then, I encourage Panthers’ fans to keep up with Trocheck via the Plymouth Whalers’ website and track him as he looks to end his already incredible season on a high note.
Follow the Rat Pack on Twitter: me @JamesonCoop, Frank Rekas @Frank Rekas , David Lasseter @davidlasseter , Patrick McLaughlin @PatrickRattrick, Scott Mullin @GreatScottsman, Paige Lewis @RatTrickLewiz Gabby Kiger @gabbykiger, Adam Reid@AdamReid Chrissy Parente @chrissaay44, Lori Carpenter @lmcangel13, 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.
We are about 45 days into the shortened season, which means we are nearing the half-way point of the 2013 NHL regular season. With the majority of teams already playing at least 22 games each, we’ve been able to take a good look at the players who have been showing this 48-game season what they’re made of. As usual, guys like Sidney Crosby and Steven Stamkos are sticking to the status quo and owning the top of the stats charts. But I’m not here to state the obvious. I’m here to give a nod to the players whom I believe have been the biggest surprises thus far.
Below are my top 7 player picks for this seasons biggest surprises:
Jonathan Huberdeau “I’m gunna let you finish”, but Drew Shore was the best NHL rookie during the month of February…
On Friday, NHL.com announced that Jonathan Huberdeau was named their rookie of the month after scoring 9 points (6G 3A) in 13 games during the month of February. However, even though Huberdeau had a terrific month, there is one other rookie that you might believe had an even better showing than he did – his Panther teammate, Drew Shore.
During the month of February, Drew Shore led all rookies in scoring by compiling 10 points (2G, 8A) in 13 games played. Already seeing great success at the NHL level, Shore is starting to be rewarded for his efforts, going from roughly 14 minutes of ice time a game to upwards of 18 minutes near the end of the month. Although he sat atop the rookie point totals for the month, Shore’s talents are not only limited to goals and assists. In just 18 games played this season, Shore has already shown that he has a knack for dominating the face-off circle. With his face-off winning percentage already sitting at an impressive 50% on the season, expect Shore to get even better as he gains more experience and minutes.
If one had to use a word to describe Shore’s play during the month of February, it would be consistency. Last month, Shore became one of the Panthers’ most reliable skaters, tallying a point in 8 of the team’s 13 games played. By comparison, other top rookies Jonathan Huberdeau and Cory Conacher recorded points in only 5 and 7 games respectively. Considering the fact the the Panthers are hardly an offensive juggernaut, the fact that Shore is able to show up on the score sheet so often is truly remarkable.
The Florida Panthers finally figured it out. When you score five goals, you’re supposed to WIN the game. The Panthers erupted for three goals for a two minutes span, including a spectacular penalty shot from Jonathan Huberdeau, en route to a 5-2 beating of the Philadelphia Flyers. Goaltender Scott Clemmensen stopped 32 of 34 shots, easily turning in his best performance on the season, as Florida ended a season long five game losing streak.
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THE FLORIDA PANTHERS AND DUFFY’S SPORTS GRILL WILL BE HOSTING FLORIDA PANTHERS LIVE AT THE PLANTATION LOCATION (811 S. University Drive, Plantation, FL 33324) TONIGHT AT 7:00 P.M.
COME AND MEET FLORIDA PANTHER ROOKIES JONATHAN HUBERDEAU AND DREW SHORE.
There’ll be a question and answer session, games, giveaways and drink specials (2 for 1 happy hour) all night long.
Here’s the official announcement from the Florida Panthers.
C’mon out and support your team and meet two of the up and coming players of the team.
Wear your Panthers gear and be entered in a raffle for two tickets to an upcoming home game.
Thanks for reading. We welcome your comments and opinions.
Follow the Rat Pack on Twitter: me @TheRatTrick , David Lasseter @davidlasseter , Patrick McLaughlin @PatrickRattrick, Scott Mullin @GreatScottsman, Paige Lewis @RatTrickLewiz Gabby Kiger @gabbykiger, Adam Reid@AdamReid Chrissy Parente @chrissaay44, Justen Rosenberg @justenrosenberg, Lori Carpenter @lmcangel13, 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.