After their most successful regular season in franchise history, clinching the Atlantic Division title, the Florida Panthers have had a busy off-season. The Panthers brought in front office staff changes, starting with moving former GM Dale Tallon to President of Hockey Operations and Associate General Manager Tom Row moving to the General Manager position. They also changed up part of their assistant coaching staff and named a new-co-director of amateur scouting and a new head of pro scouting in mid-June.
The Panthers signed pending UFA Defencemen Keith Yandle after acquiring his rights from the New York Rangers to bolster their blue line after trading Erik Gubranson and a 2016 5th Round pick to Vancouver in exchange for forward Jared McCann and a 2016 2nd Round and 4th Round draft picks in late May. At the NHL Draft, the Panthers traded the 2nd round pick they acquired in that trade to the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for the Sabres 2nd and 3rd Round 2016 picks and defencemen Mark Pysyk.
At the 2016 NHL Draft, the Panthers made 7 selections:
Henrik Borgstrom (Round 1, 23rd overall) – A Finnish centreman standing at 6’3” has great offensive upside to his game. His point production has been steadily rising, last season getting 61 points in 46 games played at HIFK U-20 in Finland. Borgstrom is committed to the NCAA this season and will be playing at the University of Denver. He will need to gain size and muscle and playing in the NCAA will help his development by playing with older and bigger players.
Adam Mascherin (Round 2, 38th overall) – Mascherin, an offensive winger weighing in at 192 pounds had a great 2015/16 OHL season with the Kitchener Rangers. He was over a point per game player, getting 93 points in 74 games played, including regular season and playoffs. He is smaller in size, standing at 5’9”, but his offensive side to his game is very impressive. Per Josh Brown of the Waterloo Record who covers the Kitchener Rangers, Mascherin won some recognition from his team this past season, sharing the scoring title and earning most improved player.
Linus Nässén (Round 3, 89th overall) – A Swedish defencemen standing at 6’0’ and weighing 172 pounds played last season mostly in the HF J20 SuperElit league in Sweden. He is not shy offensively for a defencemen either, getting 21 points in 44 games played. He made the jump to the Swedish Hockey League for 10 games but was held pointless. The Brandon Wheat Kings selected him in the 2016 CHL Import Draft.
Jonathan Ang (Round 4, 94th overall) – Ang is a forward with the Peterborough Petes of the OHL, stands at 5’11” and weighs in at 165 pounds. He was top 4 on his team in regular season scoring with 49 points in 68 games and led his team in playoff scoring with 9 points in 7 games played. In order to transition to the pro-level he will need to gain muscle and weight, but is developing well and is improving the offensive part of his game.
Riley Stillman (Round 4, 114th overall) – Stillman is a defencemen with the Oshawa Generals of the Ontario Hockey League. He stands at 6’0’ and weighs in at 181 pounds. He is a leader on his team, earning an alternate captain position on the Oshawa Generals in his first full OHL season.
Maxim Mamin (Round 6, 175th overall) – Mamin is a winger with size, standing at 6’2” and weighing in at 198 pounds. However, he is not known for his offensive upside, generating only nine points in the KHL this past season in 67 games played.
Benjamin Finkelstein (Round 7, 198th overall) – A small defencemen (5’9”, 181 pounds), put up some great numbers this past season in high school with Kimball Union Academy of the USHS. He generated 70 points (24 goals, 46 assists) in 35 games played. He is committed to St. Lawrence University of the NCAA for the 2017/18 season.
Development Camp and other notes:
Earlier this year, the Florida Panthers signed Dryden Hunt of the Moose Jaw Warriors (WHL). Last season he had a great offensive season, putting up 116 points in 72 regular season games and 16 points in 10 playoff games. He took home the WHL Player of the Year award for 2015/16. He will be playing for the Panthers AHL affiliate, Springfield Thunderbirds for the 2016/17 season.
The Florida Panthers are currently holding their development camp in Sunrise, FL. They invited a total of 41 players to camp, including 4 goalies, 13 defencemen and 24 forwards. Per media in attendance, 2016 first rounder Borgstrom has been impressive and had earned praise from others at camp. Of special note, forward Jared McCann, who was recently acquired in a trade from the Vancouver Canucks is attending camp, and per media, came voluntarily. The full roster can be found HERE.
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