Player News - Panthers

Date: Team: Pos:

Dave Bolland's fantasy worth in Florida is a bit subdued heading into training camp, as the two-way center might factor into the depth shutdown role he played in Chicago, but can also slot in with the team's offensively gifted wingers.

Florida boasts improved depth at center with Bolland in the mix to join sophomore star Aleksander Barkov and up and comer Nick Bjugstad. Assuming Bolland wins at least the second line spot, that would provide him with either Jonathan Huberdeau or Jussi Jokinen on his left wing, who are both capable of generating offense. Other than those two, the Panthers don't have many established forwards who can spur the offense. Thus, it seems the 28 year-old's expected point output for the coming season falls in the mid-30's.
Aug 24 - 12:14 PM

Aaron Ekblad spoke on Saturday about his recovery from the concussion he sustained earlier this summer, and all signs point to the first overall pick being ready for the start of Panthers' training camp next month.

"The concussion is perfectly, completely gone. I feel great," said Ekblad. "I’ve been skating all this week, working out all this week. It’s gone. I feel great." These quotes from the Globe and Mail contradict a tweet from earlier in the day by the Toronto Sun, where Ekblad is quoted as saying his symptoms are "almost completely gone," and his workouts have been "ok." Whether or not Ekblad is completely symptom-free is unclear, but both sources seem to suggest that Florida's prized defenseman should overcome the setback on time for training camp on Sept. 18.
Aug 23 - 1:08 PM

33 of the NHL's top prospects are in Toronto this weekend for the NHLPA Rookie Showcase, primarily a social and photo-op event for the young stars before training camp starts next month.

The two-day event is based around Upper Deck's rookie card photo shoot, but also features an NHL 15 video game tournament, a light scrimmage, a hall of fame tour and media availability. Ekblad, Sam Bennett and Sam Reinhart are among the young guns attending the event.
Source: NHLPA
Aug 23 - 10:55 AM

Aaron Ekblad sustained a concussion when he was hit hard in an exhibition game against the Czech Republic during Canada's summer development camp.

Hockey Canada confirmed the injury, but it is expected that Ekblad will make a "full recovery" and be ready for Florida's training camp in September. "We have been in communication with Team Canada and have mutually agreed to hold Aaron out for the remainder of the summer development camp, as a precautionary measure," Panthers GM Dale Tallon said in a statement. "We will closely monitor Aaron's health for the remainder of the off-season and expect him to be ready for our rookie camp in mid-September."
Aug 6 - 1:39 PM

Aaron Ekblad suffered an upper-body injury at Canada's summer development camp that will sideline him for the rest of the week.

He exited a scrimmage on Tuesday in the third period after an open-ice collision with Czech defenseman Lukas Klok. TSN's Ryan Rishaug is reporting that the Florida Panthers and Hockey Canada are playing it safe, but there's some concern that Ekblad may have sustained a concussion. We should get an update on the 2014 first overall pick's status around training camp.
Aug 6 - 11:35 AM

Aaron Ekblad is attending Canada's national junior team development camp, but his main goal is making Florida's roster for the upcoming season.

"I need to focus on being ready for that," he said. "But if I get this opportunity to come back and play for my country there's no doubt that I'll be willing and able." The first overall pick in the 2014 draft has a shot at making the Panthers, but it wouldn't be surprising if he played another year in the junior ranks.
Aug 5 - 9:36 AM

Once it became clear the Boston Bruins wouldn't re-sign Shawn Thornton, Florida became his top choice.

"It's no different than anything in life," said Thornton. "You spend seven and a half years somewhere, you're going to have a lot of ties and you're going to have a lot of memories. I was fortunate to be on a pretty good team the last five years that I was here, so it was a lot of fond memories. But I'm excited for the next chapter." Thornton signed a two-year, $2.4 million contract with the Panthers over the summer. He likes the direction the team's headed in and is familiar with Florida GM Dale Tallon as they both used to be members of the Chicago Blackhawks' organization.
Aug 1 - 9:10 AM

Jimmy Hayes has inked a one-year contract with the Florida Panthers.

It's a one-way deal, so Hayes will probably start the season in the NHL. He had 11 goals and 18 points in 53 games with Florida in 2013-14.
Jul 29 - 12:08 PM

Al Montoya, recently acquired by the Panthers to back up goalie Roberto Luongo, is encouraging members of Florida's Cuban community to show up to NHL games.

The hope from the Panthers front office is that Montoya — who's coming off the best statistical season (with Winnipeg) of his five-year NHL career — will provide better insurance in net than Dan Ellis behind Luongo, and that his arrival will help attract some of the approximately 850,000 Cuban-Americans in the area to the BB&T Center. Montoya is trying his best. He is quoted in the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel as saying: "This is a very cool experience, not only on a hockey level, but a bigger level than that. [Cubans] should come out to see a hockey game. It's an unbelievable sport, and we're a team that's going to give its all. Once you taste a piece of it, you'll keep coming back."
Jul 26 - 9:53 AM

Al Montoya wants to do more than just give Roberto Luongo the occasional night off.

"The coach and the team knows what I'm capable of and when I'm called, I'm going out there to win games," Montoya said. He had a 2.30 GAA and .920 save percentage in 28 games last season, but he feels his best hockey is still ahead of him. Montoya is a great backup goaltender, but Luongo isn't in any danger of losing the starting job. Assuming Luongo stays healthy, Montoya can't be counted to get more than 25 starts in 2014-15.
Jul 22 - 10:44 PM

Al Montoya is familiar with the Miami area as he has plenty of family in the region that he regularly visits.

Montoya is a Cuban-American who was born and raised in Chicago. "I was blessed with a gift and the Cuban people are a motivated bunch, a passionate bunch," Montoya said. "I'm just lucky enough to where I have an arena to show off my American dream. It doesn't matter where you come from or where you've been. Everyone can play hockey. Like I said, the Cuban people are very passionate. Once they figure out what the game is like, it's tough to let go." He signed a two-year, $2.1 million contract with the Panthers to serve as Roberto Luongo's backup.
Jul 22 - 9:42 AM

Florida general manager Dale Tallon sees offensive defenseman MacKenzie Weegar running the Panthers' power play sooner or later.

Weegar scored 103 points in 123 games in his two seasons with the Halifax Mooseheads of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. Although Weegar has made strides, recent events suggest he might have to wait a while to become part of the Panthers' plans. The team re-signed Dmitry Kulikov and Dylan Olsen recently. Erik Gudbranson was just given a two-year deal while veterans such as Brian Campbell and the recently acquired Willie Mitchell are expected to lead the group. Once No. 1 pick Aaron Ekblad is signed, the Panthers could conceivably have their six defensemen wrapped up before training camp starts in a few months. "I think I was a little bit more positionally sound," said Weegar, 20, who was the Panthers' last pick in the 2013 NHL Draft. "There are still a lot more things to improve on. I haven't skated much this summer. We still have a few more months left before the big camp and I'll show up better."
Jul 20 - 11:10 AM

Dmitry Kulikov has signed a three-year, $13 million contract extension with the Florida Panthers.

Kulikov was a restricted free agent after completing his two-year, $5 million deal. He had 19 points and 66 penalty minutes in 81 games last season. The Panthers were one of the worst teams offensively last season and while they won't be great in 2014-15, they should at least approach the level of mediocrity and that will help Kulikov reach the 25-point mark for the third time in his career.
Jul 18 - 12:31 PM

Brandon Pirri has agreed to a two-year extension with the Florida Panthers.

The Panthers acquired Pirri from Chicago in March in exchange for a third round pick and a fifth round selection. He had 13 goals and 25 points in 49 games between the two teams last season.
Jul 16 - 1:52 PM

The Florida Panthers have signed Dylan Olsen to a two-year contract extension.

Olsen was a restricted free agent after completing his entry-level contract. He had three goals and 12 points in 44 games in 2013-14.
Jul 14 - 8:22 PM

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