Florida Panthers Re-Sign RFAs Garrett Wilson and Ryan Martindale

The Florida Panthers announced today the re-signings of F Garrett Wilson and C Ryan Martindale to one-year, two-way contracts.

Wilson, 23 is coming off of his first full-time AHL season where he played 71 games and posted 30 points (14-16-30). A “crash-and-bang” type forward, Wilson played a prominent role for the San Antonio Rampage this season. His strong season in San Antonio earned him a trip to the NHL where he suited up for the Panthers for 3 games. Wilson’s NHL debut was on Mar. 18 in San Jose, where the Panthers defeated the San Jose Sharks 3-2. The Elmvale, Ontario native was drafted in the fourth round (107th overall) of the 2009 Entry Draft.

Martindale, 22 was a mid-season acquisition from the Edmonton Oilers system and played 37 games for the Rampage, posting 14 points (5-9-14). Combined with his 22 games he spent playing for the Oklahoma City Barons previously, Martindale finished the season with a total 24 points (8-16-24). The left shot, 6’3″, 207 lb center was an Edmonton draft selection in the third round (61st overall) of the 2010 Entry Draft.

 

Follow Mike  on Twitter @MikeLewy11

For All Your Florida Panthers’ Updates Follow Panther Parkway on Facebook

Follow Panther Parkway on Instagram @ PantherParkway

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!

Follow Paige on Twitter @PaigeLewisFL

For All Your Florida Panthers’ Updates Follow Panther Parkway on Facebook

Follow Panther Parkway on Instagram @ PantherParkway

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.

 

We welcome your comments and feedback!

Follow Paige on Twitter @PaigeLewisFL

For All Your Florida Panthers’ Updates Follow Panther Parkway on Facebook

Follow Panther Parkway on Instagram @ PantherParkway

 

Mack to the Future: Florida Panthers Sign QMJHL Star Mackenzie Weegar

On Thursday afternoon, the Florida Panthers announced that they have signed defenseman Mackenzie Weegar to an entry-level contract. Weegar, 20, was selected in the 7th round of the 2013 NHL Entry Draft in New Jersey.

From an OHL afterthought, to a Memorial Cup Champion, to signing his first NHL deal; Weegar’s dream of becoming an NHL defenseman is closer than ever.

After an impressive 2013-14 season with the Halifax Mooseheads of the QMJHL, tallying 59 points in 61 regular season games, along with 22 points in 16 playoff games, Weegar began turning heads among the CHL faithful.

Mackenzie Weegar (Natalie Shaver)

Mackenzie Weegar (Natalie Shaver)

But Weegar was turning heads in Florida long before then. Paul Gallagher, the Panthers’ Eastern Canadian scout, told Metro News after last year’s draft, “He’s got something that intrigues you as a scout. It’s also about his willingness to get better, to work at his game.” This could explain why the Panthers traded their 2014 7th round pick to the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for a 2013 7th round pick, which they used to select Weegar 206th overall.

Luckily for Panthers’ fans, they’ve already gotten a little taste of what Weegar could bring to the Cats blue-line after witnessing an incredible showing at the 2013 developmental rookie camp. Weegar became one of two defensemen from rookie camp (Joshua Brown was the other) to earn a shot at last year’s NHL pre-season action, earning an assist in a 3-2 victory against the Nashville Predators.

This is yet another big step in the right direction for the Panthers organization. Within the next few years, Florida could be looking at a blue-line made up of Weegar, Mike Matheson, Ian McCoshen, Joshua Brown, Dmitry Kulikov, Erik Gudbranson, Alex Petrovic, Dylan Olsen and/or possibly Aaron Ekblad, pending on this seasons draft.

 

We welcome your comments and feedback!

Follow Paige on Twitter @PaigeLewisFL

For All Your Florida Panthers’ Updates Follow Panther Parkway on Facebook

Follow Panther Parkway on Instagram @ PantherParkway

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.

Rocco Grimaldi Agrees To Entry-Level Contract With Florida Panthers

The Florida Panthers smallest prospect took a big leap on Wednesday as Florida Panthers Executive Vice President and General Manager Dale Tallon announced that the club has agreed to an entry-level contract with 5-foot-6 F Rocco Grimaldi.

“We are very pleased to have reached a contract agreement with Rocco,” said Tallon in the team’s official press release. “He is a hard working forward who possesses speed along with great vision on the ice. We look forward to his continued growth and development within our organization.”

Rocco Grimaldi (Natalie Shaver)

Rocco Grimaldi (Natalie Shaver)

Selected in the second round (33rd overall) of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, Grimaldi, 21, caught the eyes of Panthers scouts with his blazing end-to-end speed and ability to play beyond his size. After two seasons with the U.S. National Development Team, Grimaldi committed to the University of North Dakota and competed as a freshman for UND during the 2012–13 season.

In the midst of his freshman season, Grimaldi and fellow Panther prospect Vincent Trocheck were selected to represent the United States at the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championships in Ufa, Russia. Although Grimaldi started off the tournament shaky and never even saw the ice during USA’s game vs. Slovakia, he was able to progress and get better every game as the tournament went on.

Grimaldi’s speed was on full display in the later rounds of the tournament as he was able to break into the offensive zone with powerful bursts. Throughout the tournament Grimaldi compiled 4 points (2-2-4) and had a key assist on Jake McCabe’s game winning goal over Canada. Grimaldi’s shining moment came in the gold medal game when he took home MVP honors after scoring two goals in USA’s 3-1 win over Sweden.

Upon his return from Russia, Grimaldi would finish his freshman season at UND third in team scoring with 36 (13-23-36) points. For his efforts, Grimaldi was selected to the ALL-WCHA Rookie Team.

[Read more...]

Florida Panthers Relieve Interim Head Coach Peter Horachek of His Duties

Florida Panthers Vice President and General Manager, Dale Tallon announced Tuesday morning that Interim Head Coach Peter Horachek will be relieved of his duties effective immediately.

In a release via FloridaPanthers.com, Tallon addressed the change. “We will immediately begin an extensive search for a new and experienced coach for our franchise, who will guide the Panthers to future success.  We once again thank Peter for all of his hard work and service and wish him the best in his future endeavors.”

Horachek took over coaching duties for the Panthers after the firing of former Head Coach, Kevin Dineen on Nov. 8. Horachek completed the 2013-14 season with a 26-36-4 record and finished 15th in the Eastern Conference. The Panthers’ special teams struggled throughout the season and both ranked 30th in the NHL. Prior to coaching the Panthers, Horachek was Head Coach of Florida’s minor league affiliate the San Antonio Rampage (AHL).

 

The Future of the Florida Panthers Blue Line is Bright

With one game remaining in the 2013-2014 regular season, the Florida Panthers find themselves in all too familiar territory. Last season, the Panthers finished dead last in both Goals Against per Game (GA/G) and the Penalty Kill (PK%), and this year has been no different. Currently ranked 27th in GA/G, allowing 3.20 goals per game, and 30th in PK%, Dale Tallon and the Hockey Operations staff may have their work cut out for them this summer, whether it be via Free Agency or trades.

Fast-forward to the very near future, and the Panthers may have something they’ve longed for since Tallon was hired as the General Manager of the Panthers; flexibility to spend and depth on defense.

Though the Panthers have struggled offensively in recent years, drafting centers Aleksander Barkov and Nick Bjugstad will finally give the Cats the stability up the middle for the first time since the Jokinen era. While drafting these mammoth centermen was the correct choice for any GM in Tallon’s position to make, the current blue line still leaves something to be desired.

Luckily for Panthers’ fans, Tallon has done a superb job of drafting Grade A defensemen during his tenure as the Panthers General Manager. While Dmitry Kulikov, Erik Gudbranson and Dylan Olsen remain the face of the Panthers young defensive core, there are a handful of reliable defensemen in the Cats prospect pool just waiting for their chance at the big show.

[Read more...]

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

We welcome your comments and feedback!

Follow Paige on Twitter @PaigeLewisFL

For All Your Florida Panthers’ Updates Follow Panther Parkway on Facebook

Follow Panther Parkway on Instagram @ PantherParkway

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,360 other followers

%d bloggers like this: