« South Florida's Newest Export: Hockey Players | Main | OnFrozenFilm: Florida Panthers Defenseman Erik Gudbranson »

Florida Panthers Prospects Take to the Ice: Camp Starts Tuesday at 9 a.m.

Guds The Panthers introduced the immediate future of their franchise at a flashy press conference last Friday in Sunrise.

Starting Tuesday, players whom the Panthers hope will be their future stars will be on display in Coral Springs.

The Panthers will host a development camp starting Tuesday morning at the Saveology.com IcePlex. Florida's prospects have been ranked second-best in the NHL by hockeysfuture.com, with some of the team's top players in attendance.

Some players – such as collegiate players Rocco Grimaldi, Drew Shore and Nick Bjugstad – are expected to compete for roster spots in the coming years. Others, such as defenseman Erik Gudbranson and center Jonathan Huberdeau, could be on the team as early as October.

“There won't be much body contract, but there will be a lot of skating, shooting and passing,'' assistant general manager Mike Santos said. “We have a plan in place and part of that is to draft well. We have brought in 23 players in the past two drafts. Now we have to develop these young guys. We have 13 picks in the top three rounds of the past two drafts. That's two drafts worth of players in the top three rounds. We have as good a group of prospects as anyone. The excitement now turns into developing them.''

The prospects started arriving in South Florida on Saturday, with the team holding off-ice events on Sunday and Monday.

Huberdraft Starting at 9 a.m. Tuesday, the Panthers will get a glimpse at what their players can do on the ice. The Panthers will hold three on-ice workouts throughout the week. All three sessions – Tuesday, Thursday and Friday – are free and open to the public. New head coach Kevin Dineen, goalie coach Robb Tallas and San Antonio Rampage coach Chuck Weber are among those who will be running the workouts.

This is a rare chance for local fans to see the Panthers top prospects in one place. In past years, the Panthers held such camps in Canada. Florida's new front office have made a commitment to hold more and more events locally, taking advantage of the new multi-million addition to their training facility.

Last year, the Panthers held a rookie camp with scrimmages against prospects from the Nashville organization. The Panthers will expand that this summer, with the Predators, Carolina Hurricanes and a yet to be determined team coming to Coral Springs for a rookie camp/tournament.

The Panthers will also hold their entire training camp in Coral Springs, leaving the state for just a single day to visit the Dallas Stars for an exhibition game.

Santos obviously likes showing off South Florida. When the players aren't on the ice, they will be checking out the sights. Santos has a workout on Fort Lauderdale beach trip planned as well as an airboat tour of the Everglades. When the Panthers report and spend training camp here, they can expect more of the same. Last year, Santos set up a team building trip at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Players will also meet with the team's sports psychologist, a financial advisor, a nutritionist and a chef.

Roccdraft “This week is planned to make them Panthers, to introduce them to the way we do things on and off the ice,'' Santos said. “Almost all of these kids are going to go their separate ways after this week, going back to college or to their junior team. They may not see each other until next summer. The relationships start now. When they become pros in a few years, they'll know each other and the way we do things.''
For players such as goalie Jacob Markstrom and winger Quinton Howden, this camp is a chance to get to know more people within the organization and check out what is expected to be their future home. They will be back for rookie camp and partake in training camp with the NHL players in September.

Others, such as Miami native Malcolm Lyles, are attending looking for future opportunities. Lyles is a defenseman who grew up in Miami Gardens and spent two seasons at Boston College. He's not looking for a contract with the Panthers – at least not right now.

Lyles has two more seasons of college to play at UMass-Lowell, but hopes to get noticed by those in attendance and improve his game as a result of the instruction and top-flight competition.

“All of the scouts will be there,'' said Lyles, who played in the British Columbia Hockey League last season. “I've been told time and time again this is a professional development camp. It will help me get some knowledge and develop me as a player. I enjoy playing at a high level. It's not every day you get to do this. I just want to become a better hockey player. It's a great opportunity to showcase myself, take another step in my hockey career.''

Practices held at Saveology.com IcePlex in Coral Springs

Tuesday, Thursday and Friday: 9 a.m.

Top players (last year's team, draft selection): D Erik Gudbranson (OHL Kingston, first round selection 2010); C Jonathan Huberdeau (QMJHL Saint John, first round 2011); G Jacob Markstrom (AHL Rochester, second round 2008); C Nick Bjugstad (University of Minnesota, first round 2010); LW Quinton Howden (WHL Moose Jaw, first round 2010); D Alex Petrovic (WHL Red Deer, second round 2010); C Rocco Grimaldi (US Developmental team, second round 2011); C Drew Shore (University of Denver, second round 2009).


RW    Basaraba, Joe    6'2"    190    Right    Fort Frances, ON   Minnesota-Duluth

RW    Birkholz, Josh    6'1"    182    Left    Maple Grove, MN    3/28/1991    Everett    

C    Bjugstad, Nick    6'4''    204    Right    Blaine, MN    7/17/1992    Minnesota

D    Boyd, R.J.    6'3''    190    Left    Fort Myers, FL    2/7/1991    Sacred Heart

C    Brickley, Connor    6'1''    195    Left    Everett, MA    2/25/1992    Vermont

D    Comrie, Adam    6'4"    205    Left    Kanata, ON    7/31/1990    Rochester (AHL) 

RW    Donskoi, Joonas    5'11"    165    Right    Raahe, Finland    4/13/1992    Karpat

LW    Durocher, Corey    6'3"    175    Left    Ottawa, ON    5/30/1992    Kingston

C    Grimaldi, Rocco    5'6''    160    Right    Auburn Hills, MI    2/8/1993 U.S. National

D    Gudbranson, Erik    6'4"    195    Right    Ottawa, ON    1/7/1992    Kingston

RW    Hazen, Jonathan    5'11"    170    Right    Val-Belair, PQ    6/18/1990    Val d'Or

LW    Howden, Quinton    6'2"    182    Left    Oakbank, MB    1/21/1992    Moose Jaw

C    Huberdeau, Jonathan    6'1''    171    Left    St-Jerome, PQ    6/4/1993  Saint John

C    Hyman, Zach    6'0"    182    Right    Toronto, ON    6/9/1992    Hamilton (OJHL)   

LW    Jenks, A.J.    6'2"    202    Left    Detroit, MI    6/27/1990    Rochester (AHL)   

C    Knight, Corban    6'1''    180    Right    High River, AB    9/10/1990  North Dakota

D    LaPoint, Derrick    6'2''    175    Left    Eau Claire, WI    5/13/1988    North Dakota

D    Lee, John    6'1''    180    Right    Moorhead, MN    1/16/1989    Denver (WCHA)   

RW    Luciani, Anthony    5'8''    190    Right    Maple, ON    5/13/1990    Erie (OHL)    

D    *Lyles, Malcolm    5'10''    180    Right    Miami Gardens, FL    7/20/1990    Vernon

C    McFarland, John    6'0"    192    Right    Richmond Hill, ON    4/2/1992    Sudbury

C    Pacan, David    6'3''    205    Right    Ottawa, ON    3/31/1991    Niagara (OHL)   

D    Petrovic, Alexander    6'4"    193    Right    Edmonton, AB    3/3/1992    Red Deer

D    Racine, Jonathan    6'1''    182    Left    Montreal, PQ    5/28/1993    Shawinigan

D    Robak, Colby    6'3"    207    Left    Dauphin, MB    4/24/1990    Rochester (AHL)   

LW    Selleck, Eric    6'2"    195    Left    Shanley, ON    10/20/1987    Rochester

RW    Shaw, Logan    6'3''    190    Right    Glace Bay, NS    10/5/1992    Cape Breton

C    Shore, Drew    6'3''    190    Right    Denver, CO    1/29/1991    Denver (WCHA)   

C    Timmins, Scott    5'11"    191    Left    Hamilton, ON    9/11/1989    Rochester

C    Trocheck, Vincent    5'11''    180    Right    Pittsburgh, PA    7/11/1993    Saginaw

LW  Wilson, Garrett    6'3"    206    Left    Elmvale, ONT    3/16/1991    Owen            

G  Cheverie, Marc    6'3"    183    Left    Cole Harbour, NS    2/22/1987  Cin/Roch

G  Foster, Brian    6'1"    175    Left    Pembroke, NH    2/4/1987   Shreveport 

G  Gayduchenko, Sergei    6'5''    222    Left    Yaroslavl, Russia    6/6/1989  Moskow

G    Markstrom, Jacob    6'3"    178    Left    Gavle, Sweden    1/31/1990    Rochester

*-Indicates player is in training camp on a tryout