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What To Know Before The Draft

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The 2015 NHL entry draft is just days away, and the Florida Panthers have the privilege of playing host to one of the most anticipated drafts since Sidney Crosby was selected first overall by Pittsburgh in 2005. Another superstar is about to emerge, with center Connor McDavid being touted as the obvious first choice by the Edmonton Oilers. Of course, as most people know, there is a lot more to the draft than just young men realizing their lifelong dream. The following is everything fans need to know to prepare themselves for the festivities that will take place on Friday and Saturday.

The Top 30

First, let’s talk about the prospects. McDavid is already a household name, but what about the other 29 prospects that could hear their names called in the first round? Here is the complete list of the top 30 North American skaters available:

draft rank

To see the full list of skaters and goaltenders from North America and Europe, click here.

Round 1 Draft Order

round1order

Trade Bait

Kessel

One of the most exciting parts of any draft day are the trades. Every year at least one team pulls the trigger on a blockbuster deal in hopes to improve their team. Last year it was Anaheim who bolstered their lineup on draft day by acquiring Ryan Kesler from Vancouver. His contributions helped his new team reach the Western Conference finals before falling to the eventual Stanley Cup champions, the Chicago Blackhawks.

Fast forward to this weekend’s draft and there are plenty of big names available for the taking. The Toronto Maple Leafs are looking to unload their two biggest stars, Phil Kessel and Dion Phaneuf, while the Chicago Blackhawks need to shed salary, and they may look to do so by trading Patrick Sharp and Bryan Bickell. Other names being mentioned in trade talks include Cam Talbot (NYR), Milan Lucic (BOS), and Eric Staal (CAR). TSN has compiled an entire list of players that are rumored to be up for grabs this weekend, which can be seen here.

Schedule of Events

Finally, the Florida Panthers are doing their best to provide a fantastic weekend for everyone attending the 2015 NHL entry draft. From autograph signings to trading card shows there will be something for everyone on Friday and Saturday. For the entire schedule of events just look below.

DraftSchedule

For any other questions about the draft fans can refer to draft central, a web portal created by the Florida Panthers. Round one of the 2015 National Hockey League entry draft takes place this Friday, June 26th, at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, FL.

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Panthers Training Camp Roster And Notes

IcePlex

With the new collective bargaining agreement finally in place information for the upcoming shortened season is coming out fast. Late last night the 2013, 48 game schedule was released for all 30 National Hockey League teams. Later that evening the Florida Panthers also officially announced their one week training camp roster, which contains 32 players, making for a much shorter list than that of a normal pre-season squad.

Camp began this morning with player physicals and media events, and will continue until Friday, January 18th. Players will hit the ice starting tomorrow, January 14th, at 10:00 AM EST for their first practice. The Panthers will hold an inter-squad scrimmage at 7:00 PM EST on Wednesday, January 16th, at the Saveology.com Iceplex. All training camp events, including Wednesday’s scrimmage, are open to the general public.

2013 Florida Panthers Training Camp Roster:

4 – Keaton Ellerby

9 – Stephen Weiss

11 – Jonathan Huberdeau

12 – Jack Skille

13 – Mike Santorelli

14 – Tomas Fleischmann

17 – Filip Kuba

18 – Shawn Matthias

19 – Scottie Upshall

20 – Sean Bergenheim

22 – George Parros

23 – Tyson Strachan

25 – Jerred Smithson

27 – Alex Kovalev *

30 – Scott Clemmensen

32 – Kris Versteeg

35 – Jacob Markstrom

40 – Marek Svatos *

41 – James Wright

42 – Quinton Howden

43 – Mike Weaver

44 – Erik Gudbranson

50 – Drew Shore

51 – Brian Campbell

52 – Jon Rheault *

55 – Ed Jovanovski

57 – Marcel Goc

60 – Jose Theodore

62 – Michael Caruso

72 – Alexander Petrovic

82 – Tomas Kopecky

88 – Peter Mueller

Alex Kovalev, Marek Svatos, and Jon Rheault are all participating in Florida’s camp on a tryout basis.

– Panthers fans should notice that a familiar name is missing from the roster, Dmitry Kulikov. The Florida defenseman is currently a restricted free agent and cannot play for the Cats until he signs a new contract.

– Head coach Kevin Dineen said that he will be choosing a captain for the Panthers before their season opener against the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday, January 19th.

– Sean Bergenheim, Marcel Goc, and Erik Gudbranson are injured. Gudbranson is still recovering from shoulder surgery and has not been cleared yet while the extent of Bergenheim and Goc’s injuries are unknown at this point.

– Bob McKenzie of TSN reported that Florida hopes to have Gudbranson back in the lineup within two to three weeks.

Keep checking back with Sunshine State Hockey for all of the latest Florida Panthers and NHL news.

The NHL Lockout Is Finally Over

Bettman

It took them 113 grueling days but the National Hockey League and National Hockey League Players Association have finally reached a deal on a new, 10 year, collective bargaining agreement. The news broke early Sunday morning, around 5:30 AM, after a marathon meeting between the league and PA. Details are still coming in, which means the official start date for the delayed 2012-2013 season is still unknown at this time.

Information about the new CBA is still coming in as well. This is what we know so far from various sources:

– 10 Year length with an opt-out clause after eight years.
– $64.3 million salary cap and $44 million salary floor in year two.
– Salary variance on contracts year to year cannot change more than 35 per cent and in the final year cannot change more than 50 per cent of the first year.
– Contract limit of seven years for new players (UFA’s) and eight years for current players (re-signing).
– Revenue sharing at $200 million plus a $60 million growth fund.
– New draft lottery giving all 14 non-playoff teams a chance at the first overall selection.
– Changes in rules for sup. discipline. Darren Dreger: Shanahan 1st, appeal with Bettman 2nd. For six or more games neutral third party will decide if necessary.

Various media outlets are also reporting that NHL players will participate in the 2014 Winter Olympic games, but that is not included in the CBA.

Keep checking back with Sunshine State Hockey for more information as it becomes available.

Source(s): NHL, TSN

Around the Net – Lockout Edition

There is so much going on with the National Hockey League, the NHLPA, and potential lockout we figured it was time to take another trip around the net. Just like with previous installments of this article we will feature posts from other writers and sites relating to the current hot topic. Of course everyone knows that the biggest news in the hockey community is the lockout. Sadly the only thing fans can do at this point is wait and hope that this does not last the entire season like it did in 2005.

Florida Panthers

Panthers Preparing For Season That Might Not Come – The Sun Sentinel’s Harvey Fialkov published multiple articles regarding the Florida Panthers and their take on the current lockout situation. This is the first.

Weiss: Playing Elsewhere ‘Has Crossed My Mind’ – More from Harvey Fialkov, this time in video form.

Where Will Luongo Land? Former #FlaPanthers Goalie Heads Back To Vancouver – George Richards explains that even with the league on the verge of another lockout goaltender Roberto Luongo is still looking for a new place to call home.

NHL

A Look Back At The Latest Work Stoppages In Pro Sports – TSN published an article this week highlighting the most recent lockouts from the NBA, NFL, MLB, and NHL.

Gary Bettman: ‘This Is Very Hard And I Feel Terrible About it’ – Puck Daddy’s own Greg Wyshynski reports that NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman has feelings. Wait, what?

How To Explain NHL Lockout To Your Non-Hockey Friends: Puck Daddy’s Guide – The folks behind Yahoo! sports’ Puck Daddy blog have put together a humorous guide for hockey fans and their non-hockey friends.

Owners Know Fans Will Return – ESPN’s Darren Rovell, who seems to have no knowledge about the sport of hockey, blames hardcore fans for the lockout.

NHLPA Seeks Ruling To Make NHL Lockout Illegal In Quebec – TSN reports that instead of putting their complete focus on a solution for all 30 teams some members of the NHLPA are trying to block the lockout in different parts of Canada, including Quebec.

Source(s): ESPN, Miami Herald, Puck Daddy, Sun Sentinel, TSN

Free Agency Fallout: Panthers Sign Kuba And Parros

Day one of the 2012 NHL free agency period has passed and surprisingly all of the top players on the market remain unsigned. Fans and their favorite teams are still waiting to see where free agents like Zach Parise, Ryan Suter, and Martin Brodeur will end up. Of course the first day of free agency did see its fair share of players signed to new clubs, with 40 men signing the dotted line with different organizations, but the majority of moves made were to improve depth.

The two biggest names removed from the free agent market on Sunday both have ties with the Florida Panthers. Ray Whitney, who played for the Panthers from 1998 to 2001, left Phoenix after signing a two year contract worth $9 million with the Dallas Stars. In an interview with TSN the 40 year old winger stated that the reason he joined the Stars was because “they were the only team to offer me a two year contract”. That statement, if true, is surprising considering Whitney’s production last year with the Coyotes, no matter his age.

Jason Garrison, Florida’s biggest weapon on the power play last season, was the other big name on the move Sunday as he signed a six year deal with the Vancouver Canucks for a whopping $27.6 million. General manager Mike Gillis and his club are investing a lot of years and money in a player who had one good season with the Panthers. It is completely understandable why Tallon did not want to invest that many years in Garrison considering that top blueline prospects like Colby Robak and Alex Petrovic will be ready to step into the lineup within the next couple of years. With that said we wish Jason the best of luck in Vancouver and we hope he has great success in his hometown, except when he plays the Panthers.

After last year’s free agent frenzy for the Panthers it was no surprise that Tallon and Co. were busy on the first day of free agency once again. Florida’s GM all but knew that Garrison would not be returning to the Cats so he went out and signed defenseman, and former Panthers draft pick, Filip Kuba as his replacement. Kuba was given $4 million a season over the next two years for his services. “Filip is an experienced player who adds further depth to our blue line,” Tallon said. “He is a big, strong and responsible, shutdown defenseman who averaged more than 23 minutes of ice time per-game last season. We are confident that he will fit very well into our top six and help our power play. We look forward to his contributions to our team.”

Kuba was not the only new face joining the Panthers after day one of free agency. Tallon also addressed Florida’s toughness, or lack thereof, by signing George Parros and his mustache to a two year deal. We are willing to bet that Parros, who tweets frequently under the handle @Stache16, will become a fan favorite in South Florida just like he was in Anaheim.

The Panthers also added to the goalie drama surrounding the club by re-signing Scott Clemmensen for another two years. Adding Clemmensen back into the fold increases the confusion surrounding the team and their goaltending situation, especially since there are even more reports coming in that Florida is still interested in either Roberto Luongo or Martin Brodeur. If the Panthers were to still make a run at either all-star netminder they would most definitely have to trade Jose Theodore or Scott Clemmensen. All we can do at this point is wait and see what Tallon has planned and hope that he has not given up on Jacob Markstrom.

Sunshine State Hockey will have even more coverage for day two and beyond of the free agent frenzy. We will also be attending the Panthers development camp one day this week to see how Florida’s prospects look this time around. Be sure to keep checking back with SSH for updates all off-season long.

Source(s): Florida Panthers, TSN