Florida makes roster cuts, announces 51-man training camp roster

The Florida Panthers’ rookies arrived back in Florida late last night after winning the prospects tournament held at the Ford Ice Center in Nashville over the weekend. For some of these individuals, the end of prospects camp means the beginning of NHL training camp, or pre-season. For others, it means the end of their pro careers with the Panthers.

While several individuals impressed at the annual rookie tournament, not every player was fortunate enough to earn a spot at main camp. The following players have been cut from the Panthers, and will not attend training camp:

Player Cuts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The following names will be attending training camp:

Training Camp Roster

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The team will hold their first on-ice practice of training camp on September 19th, starting at 10 a.m. at the Panthers Ice Den in Coral Springs, FL. You can find the full training camp schedule here. We’re looking forward to seeing you all there!

 

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Vincent Trocheck: Biding his time

Reading about the 2013 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships held in Ufa, Russia, you’ll see that the tournament was dominated by the likes of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (EDM; 4G-11A-15P.), Markus Granlund (CGY; 5G-7A-12P), Johnny Gaudreau (CGY; 7G-2A-9P), and Jonathan Huberdeau (FLA; 3G-6A-9P), all of whom played between six and seven games.

You’ll see that Anaheim’s John Gibson, he of the now-famous Darryl Sutter-ism that had at least a few people thinking, “was he serious?”, completely dominated the tournament, posting a remarkable .955 save percentage, a full 0.5% more than the next goalie, Tampa Bay Lightning super-prospect Andrey Vasilevski. And you’ll even see the leadership on the gold medal winning team, led by future first rounder’s Seth Jones (NSH), Jacob Trouba (WPG), Connor Murphy (ARZ), and J.T. Miller (NYR).

What you won’t see–unless you look particularly close–is one Vincent Trocheck. Despite not garnering the clout that his peers did in the tournament, Trocheck put up a more-than respectable six points (3G-3A-6P) in seven games, including an empty net goal and an assist in the gold medal game. While Trocheck lacked the size and accolades of his peers, it was readily apparent–a year-and-a-half later–that Trocheck used the experience in Ufa as a launching pad for his career.

After the Pittsburgh, PA native returned from Russia, he was traded from the Saginaw Spirit to the Plymouth Whalers, where he went on to score 26 goals to go along with 33 assists in 28 games. He finished the season by leading the OHL in points with 109 total (50G-59A-109P).

As Trocheck did with the World Juniors, he used the culmination of his amateur career as a stepping stone into the pros. Slated to play the season in San Antonio with the Rampage, Trocheck did nothing but impress, leading the team with 42 points (12G-26A) in 55 games. What sets Trocheck apart from his peers is his instincts: he uses tremendous hockey IQ and vision to hit the open man, while his agility makes up for his lack of top-end speed, allowing him to set-up in the right place at the right time.

What really made Trocheck’s first season as a professional stand out was the way that he played following the trade of Marcel Goc. Eliminated from playoff contention, the Panthers brought Trocheck up from the minors. In his 20 game audition, Trocheck shined, scoring five goals to go with his three assists, while leading the Panther forwards with 18:53 of ice time per game.

Heading into his second professional season, Trocheck puts the Panthers in an intriguing situation. Combining his roster friendly two-way contract leaving him waiver ineligible, the signing of veteran centers Dave Bolland and Derek MacKenzie, and the NHL experience of Aleksander Barkov, Nick Bjugstad, and Drew Shore, Trocheck looks likely to bounce back and forth between San Antonio and Sunrise.

Moving forward, Trocheck’s versatility will be key; while conventional scouting wisdom might declare Trocheck NHL ready, the logjam at center remains apparent. Being able to play on the wing, and in different roles–whether that be on an energy line, on special teams, or just five-on-five–aren’t so much bonuses anymore, but rather necessities needed to crack an NHL roster.

Coming off his fourth development camp, Trocheck established himself as the clear-cut leader amongst those in attendance, something management was clearly looking for out of the 21-year-old. Since before he was drafted 64th overall in 2011, Trocheck was championed for having IT, a sports terminology that, in essence, means he’s not big enough and not strong enough, but does the little things that are required out of a truly good player. His hockey IQ, his agility, and his knack for setting-up teammates to score give him the edge over the streaky forward and the puck moving defenseman.

Regardless of when it happens, Vincent Trocheck will force himself into the Florida Panthers lineup. Maybe he can use his fourth and final rookie camp as a springboard into his second professional season.

San Antonio Rampage Re-Sign C Wade Megan and F Tony Turgeon

Today the San Antonio Rampage announced the re-signing of C Wade Megan and F Tony Turgeon. Each of the young forwards signed one-year AHL deals.

Megan, 24 was a key player during his college days at Boston University where he posted 83 points (49-34-83) for the Terriers in 151 career games. Taken in the fifth round (138th overall) of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft by the Florida Panthers, Megan spent four seasons at the college level before signing an ATO with the Rampage in 2012-13.  Last season, Megan played his first full professional year of hockey splitting time between the Rampage and the Panthers’ ECHL affiliate, the Cincinnati Cyclones. The 6’1″, 190 lb, centerman played in 43 games for San Antonio notching 17 points (11-6-17) and was a big part of the Cyclones run to the Kelly Cup finals where he posted 13 points (10-3-13) in 22 postseason games.

Turgeon, 24 is an intimidator with his 6’4″, 220 lb frame. Known more for his rough-and-tumble style and physical presence, Turgeon played three seasons at the University of Nebraska-Omaha and posted 169 PIMs in 62 games. The undrafted UN-O defenseman made the transition to forward as he played in his first pro season in 2013-14 with both the Rampage and the Cyclones. Turgeon played 5 games for San Antonio posting 21 PIMs and 13 games for Cincinnati, posting two points (0-2-2) and 59 PIMs.

 

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Tom Rowe to Return as Rampage Head Coach

The Florida Panthers announced today that Tom Rowe, will return as the head coach for the Florida PanthersAHL affiliate San Antonio Rampage for the 2014-15 season.

Rowe  became the head coach of the Rampage on Nov. 8, 2013 when bench boss, Peter Horachek was abruptly called to duty as head coach of the Panthers replacing former coach, Kevin Dineen. Coaching a group of youngsters in San Antonio, the Rampage went 26-31-3-5 under Rowe. The team showed promise as they jumped into the playoff race in Feb. when they went on a 7-2-0-1 tear and set a new franchise record for road trip success in the process.

Rowe, 58 most notably took over coaching duties for Yaroslavl Lokomotiv of the KHL in 2012 (leading the team to a 34-18-0 record) and was also an assistant coach for the 2008-09 Carolina Hurricanes  under current Nashville Predators coach, Peter Laviolette. The Hurricanes reached the Eastern Conference finals that season fighting through the New Jersey Devils and Boston Bruins in the process in two back-to-back seven game series.

Joining Rowe behind the bench is Scott Allen. Allen, has history with San Antonio as he was a part of the coaching staff during their inaugural season. Allen, 48 spent two years with the Rampage (2002-04) and helped San Antonio reach their first playoff berth. Allen has journeyed through the AHL as an assistant coach for several teams and spent four years as an assistant coach for the New York Islanders (2009-12).

Allen and Rowe are no strangers to one another. Allen served as an assistant coach to Rowe during his time as coaching the Lowell Lock Monsters during the 2004-05 season.

In a release, courtesy of FloridaPanthers.com, Panthers GM, Dale Tallon spoke about the hiring,

“We are pleased to have Tom and Scott behind the bench leading our prospects in San Antonio next season,” said Tallon. “Both Tom and Scott have worked together before and we are confident that they will create a winning and positive culture for our prospects to grow and develop.”

With a team next year that is built around youth, these two veteran coaches will bring a wealth of experience at all levels of professional hockey to help mold them into a team that will not only look to compete for a Calder Cup as soon as possible but to create a cohesive unit for the future of the Panthers as well.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

We welcome your comments and feedback!

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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!

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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.

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…]

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