« AARON EKBLAD: Signed, sealed and ready to deliver for Florida Panthers | Main | PANTHERS NOTEBOOK: The gang's all here ... Prospects 2-0 in Nashville »

PANTHERS NEWS, NOTES: Prospect camp opens ... Panthers headed back to West Point

TWITTER: @GeorgeRichards

The Panthers opened up their prospects camp on Friday morning with 26 players working out in Coral Springs.

Afterward, GM Dale Tallon spoke with the media before heading out with the crew to the airport for a flight to Nashville.

The junior Panthers open their prospect tournament game against the Bruins Saturday in Nashville.

Tallon said top pick Aaron Ekblad would likely play in the opening game and then they'll see where they go from there.

Ekblad suffered a concussion last month in Quebec but has been medically cleared although Tallon says Florida knows what Ekblad can do so they're not going to run him too hard in the prospect tournament.

-- Tallon told me that although the Panthers haven't hired an assistant general manager, don't worry, the job is being done.

Eric Joyce and Mike Dixon of the hockey ops department are doing the job and will continue to do so. Tallon added that he and scouting director Scott Luce will be more involved with the AHL operation in San Antonio as well.

-- Shane O'Brien, the veteran defenseman joining training camp on a try out, is in South Florida and working out in the informal veteran skates.

Tallon says Florida may bring in another forward on a PTO for camp, although he's happy with what the Panthers will open camp with next week.

-- Florida will play its final exhibition game of the preseason on Oct. 4 in Tampa and then head off for a few days of team building at West Point in New York.

The team is planning to fly back to Fort Lauderdale and hold a practice here before heading back to Tampa for the season opener on Oct. 9.

The Panthers have been to West Point before as Jacques Martin took the team there prior to its 2007-08 season opener against the Rangers.

With Vinnie Viola now the owner of the team, it was only a matter of time before the Panthers returned to the U.S. Military Academy for some work.

Will have more on the West Point trip when it becomes official.