Player News - Panthers

Date: Team: Pos:

Aaron Ekblad skated with veteran defender Willie Mitchell during an intrasquad scrimmage over the weekend.

"I was looking over at him every once in a while to see how good his gaps were and where he was on the ice to pick up some tricks," Ekblad said. "He said he was going about 60 percent today and I thought he was a superstar." The 18-year-old rearguard was the top pick in the 2014 draft and he's looking to crack Florida's roster for the start of the 2014-15 season.
Sep 22 - 10:54 AM

Jussi Jokinen has been paired with fellow Finn Aleksander Barkov during the early days of training camp.

Jokinen has been occupying the left wing. "Obviously, the Finnish connection, you'd like to have them together," said Panthers coach Gerard Gallant. "But we'll see how things go in the lineup and see how they play." Jokinen is expected to help Florida on the power play and in shootouts this season after he inked a four-year, $16 million contract on the first day of free agency.
Sep 22 - 10:47 AM

Roberto Luongo is excited to see how the Florida Panthers will progress this season.

"I’m excited to be here at this time of year. I’m definitely excited about the team; [I] like the veteran players we brought in," said Luongo. "Last year, when I got here, I was just excited to be here. I didn’t care what the team’s record was. I knew I was coming in for the future, and I’m excited to see how we progress." After having been acquired from the Vancouver Canucks last season, Luongo is entering his first training camp with the Panthers since 2005. The 35-year-old went 25-23-7 last season with a 2.40 goals-against-average and a .919 save percentage.
Sep 21 - 9:54 AM

Willie Mitchell thinks the best of Roberto Luongo will come this season now that the netminder has a fresh start with the Panthers.

Luongo had to deal with a goalie controversy in Vancouver when Cory Schneider was there, but he's at ease now in his return to Florida. "No one wants to win a Stanley Cup more than Roberto," Mitchell said. ... Coming back down here is a breath of fresh air for him because, who's kidding who, it's not [the same] market, there's not that pressure and he could be himself. I think you'll see the best of him.'' The 35-year-old netminder went 25-23-7, with a 2.40 goals-against average and .919 save percentage last season. The Panthers will need him at his best to have a chance in the Eastern Conference this season.
Sep 20 - 11:28 PM

Dave Bolland reported to camp with a healthy ankle.

That's good news for the Cats considering they shelled out $27.5 million over five years for the veteran two-way pivot. Bolland has played in only 58 games since the 2012-13 season and registered a paltry 28 points over that span mainly due to a severe ankle injury. Yet, the team seems to believe he will have a positive influence on the squad's younger players. We don't expect Bolland to crack the 40-point mark as he will likely line up as the Panthers' third-line pivot. That makes him virtually fantasy irrelevant.
Sep 20 - 10:49 AM

Steven Hodges, a third-round draft pick in 2012, scored a goal and assisted on another in helping the Panthers prospects beat Bruins youngsters 2-0 victory on Saturday at the rookie tournament in Nashville.

"We got better as the game went on," Hodges said. "The first half of the game, we didn't get as many shots as we wanted to. Once we started to get the puck towards it, we got more success and that's something we can build on next game." The Panthers outshot the Bruins 19-1 in the third period and 30-21 overall. Hodges had 47 points in 52 games last season in the WHL.
Sep 14 - 11:35 AM

Shane O'Brien is already working hard in informal workouts as he attempts to make the Panthers' roster.

He is going to attend camp on a tryout basis. O'Brien brings only one thing to the table of interest to poolies--penalty minutes. If O'Brien does make the squad and you need some PIMS from your blueline, the veteran could be a viable pick. However bear in mind, he will likely be a healthy scratch from time to time.
Sep 13 - 11:00 AM

All eyes will be on Aaron Ekblad Saturday night as the Panthers' rookies face off against the Bruins' rookies.

It will be the first game Ekblad will play in a Florida uniform and it goes without saying that the NHL's first overall pick in this past June's entry draft will garner a tremendous amount of attention. "It's going to be fast-paced, there's going to be a lot of good players," said Ekblad. "It's going to be good to get our feet back under us, get the pace where it needs to be." Ekblad has a legitmate shot at starting the season in the Cats' top four and is well worth a mid to late round pick in your fantasy pool regardless of format.
Sep 13 - 10:48 AM

Rocco Grimaldi is hopeful that he'll be in the NHL soon.

He's excited to play in the Panthers' upcoming rookie tournament and to participate in the main team's training camp next week. "I'm just looking forward to everything about it," he said. "Just getting going. I had a good summer skating [with L.A. Kings players] skating and training, and all that other sfuff. I'll come out here do the best I can and hopefully make the team by any means necessary." Grimaldi has spent the last three seasons with University of North Dakota and he's projected to start the year in the minors unless he makes it impossible at camp for Florida to send him down.
Sep 12 - 8:43 AM

Vincent Trocheck wants to be a member of the Florida Panthers when the 2014-15 regular season begins.

I'm coming in with the mindset I'm going to make this team and do whatever it takes. "I'll come into rookie camp and exhibitions and have to put it in their minds that they can't send me down," he said. "Basically, that they have to have me here so that's what I'm going to do." Trocheck appeared in 20 games with the Panthers last year and he contributed eight points, with six coming in his last 11 outings. "Now I know I'm able to do it on the NHL level so definitely the confidence helps going into the season, knowing that I can," said the 21-year-old. "There's no doubt in my mind that I can be here." Florida added Derek MacKenzie and Dave Bolland in the off-season, but Trocheck is still hopes that he can make the team and contribute.
Sep 11 - 9:58 AM

Florida Panthers draftee Aaron Ekblad was voted as the league's top prospect among defensemen in a recent poll of hockey experts.

Ekblad ranked sixth overall on the list, five spots ahead of the next blueliner - Nikita Zadorov of the Buffalo Sabres. Ranking ahead of the Panthers rookie, in order, are Jonathan Drouin, John Gibson, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Sam Reinhart and Teuvo Teravainen.
Sep 9 - 9:55 PM

The Florida Panthers' power play is likely to improve by default next season.

Their collective PP shooting percentage was 7.6, which was considerably lower than even the second-worst mark (9.3 percent). It's highly likely that will improve even without personnel changes, especially if Brian Campbell (team-leading 12 PPPs) sticks around.
Sep 6 - 3:48 PM

Aaron Ekblad is "very confident" that he'll be a member of the Florida Panthers on opening night.

"We're hopeful, and we think he can," GM Dale Tallon said. "He's big and strong enough, has the ability. It's just adjusting to the pace. Timing is everything. Moving from junior to the NHL is a big step, especially on the back end defensively." Ekblad has recovered from the concussion he suffered about a month ago and Tallon added that the 2014 top pick had been medically cleared to practice. The Panthers may still be a little cautious with him to start camp
Sep 4 - 10:00 AM

Shane O'Brien will join the Florida Panthers at training camp on a professional tryout.

He was bought out by the Flames in July after he split time between the NHL and AHL last season. In 45 appearances with Calgary, O'Brien had three assists and 58 penalty minutes.
Sep 3 - 11:27 AM

Aaron Ekblad has signed a three-year, entry-level contract with the Florida Panthers.

"We are very pleased to have signed Aaron," said GM Dale Tallon in a statement. "He is a talented, strong, smart and hardworking defenseman who is ready to take the next step in his professional career. We look forward to watching him compete and develop at our prospects camp, throughout our main training camp and in preseason competition." The Panthers chose Ekblad with the first overall pick in the 2014 draft and it's probable that he'll start the year with the big club.
Sep 3 - 11:11 AM

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