December 31-in-31: Florida Panthers

Dave Hall

2020-12-13

The 31-in-31 Offseason Series is an annual event here at DobberProspects! Every day in December we will be bringing you a complete breakdown of a team’s prospect depth chart, riser & fallers, and top prospect ranking. 

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As mentioned in the November 31-in-31, it has been a whirlwind of an off-season for the Florida Panthers. The club has just wrapped up a complete overhaul – stretching through management, coaching staff, and of course, the players. With Evgenii Dadonov and Mike Hoffman officially out of the equation, the new management team will have their work cut out for them as they search to not only make up for those goals but add more to them. 

Barring any significant signings, it looks like they will bank on a few prospects to pick up the slack. Luckily, their prospect pool, especially up front, is rather deep and there are certainly a few eager names worthy of jumping in to make an impact. Will that impact be enough to propel them towards a postseason push? Time will tell. However, one thing is for sure, this will be a pivotal season for the club’s list of youngsters as many of them have struggled to develop at the rate that was initially targeted. 

Graduating players

First, the graduating players. As mentioned, the club has a vast list of prospects chomping at the bit to make the push. Here are players who should be contesting for those roles right out of the gate.

NHL

Grigori Denisenko (LW) – The wait is over. Denisenko has officially inked his entry-level deal and will make his way over to North America for the 2020-21 campaign. As is the theme of the club right now, his placement is currently uncertain. Training camp will give us a better look at his immediate translation, but it would not be a shock to see him catch some time in the AHL to gain a few reps before making the jump. On the other hand, that path has not been kind to the Panthers as of late, so he may just find himself on the club’s middle-six out the gate.

He has a ton of skill, with an added benefit of sandpaper – both of which will be a much-welcomed addition to the club. I have him as an NHL graduate, as I do believe he ultimately makes the team out of camp and deploys on their third-line.


Owen Tippett (RW)
– It has been three seasons since Tippett was drafted, and following a respectable rookie campaign in Springfield last year, he should be making the jump permanently in 2020-21.

The 2017 first-rounder sat third in AHL rookie point-per-game with 0.87 last season (among players with five games or more) and scored seven of his 19 goals on the man-advantage. Assuming he enters camp fit and ready to play, do not be shocked to see him among the club’s top-six and power-play units rout of the gate. He not only looks ready to dive in but the club’s weak right-side will make this almost a guaranteed outcome. 

On the cusp

The Panthers hold a well-documented grey zone in regards to their prospect pool. They have run into some obvious developmental roadblocks and now find themselves with a stockpile of prospects sitting right on the cusp of being NHL ready – some more than others. Even with Denisenko and Tippett on the team, there may be room for one more player among the roster. If so, here is the list that will be gunning for that role.

Anton Lundell (C) – Don’t jump out of your seats just yet, if Lundell is to make that immediate move, it will not be until