Starting this past Saturday, the Florida Panthers have invited 13 forwards, 8 defenders, and 3 goalies to a development camp. Many of the players invited to the camp are invitees consisting of draft picks and undrafted players brought to camp so the scouting team and coaches have an opportunity to evaluate them and potentially could offer the infamous Zito contract.
Besides Spencer Knight, the Panther invited goalies Olivier Adam and Tye Austin.
They also invited Defensemen Jacob Leguerrier, Robert Calisti and Frédéric Brunet.
For future goal scoring, the Cats invited forwards Trevor Wong, Connor Trenholm, Simon Pinard, Justin Nachbaur and Eric Alarie.
These guys all showed up with hopes of earning a contract and avoiding being sent back to their junior clubs or the minors. We believe after the tournament there are a few players who could earn a roster spot in the NHL.
With regards to the goaltenders invited, we do not foresee the Panthers moving forward with any of the invitees. The Cats have Boobtitsky and Knight. That is one area the Panthers have quite a bit of depth and will continue to roll with.
Despite being undersized at 5’9 and 154 lbs, the top player on the list is forward Trevor Wong. He is 18 years old and he plays LW/C for the Vancouver Giants of the WHL and is widely regarded as the top undrafted player coming out of that league. Even though the WHL is not what it was 10-15 years ago in terms of team toughness, it is still a very physical league so if he can survive being undersized in the WHL, he can survive being undersized anywhere.
Next on our list is another undersized player in Simon Pinard who sits just a little bigger than Wong at 5’10 and 172 Lbs. Pinard is a 20-year-old hybrid player who bounces between left wing and defense. He is currently with the Armada of the QMJHL.
Next up on our list is Eric Allaire standing in at 6’1 and 185 Lbs. He is 18-year-old winger playing for the Moose Jaw Warriors. He was ranked 51st among North American skaters and yet another high touted player coming into camp.
Last but not least is Robert Calisti who, going with the common theme, is another undersized player sitting at a whopping 5’9 and 185 Lbs. He is a defenseman who is one of the only invitees to play pro. He is currently playing in the AHL for the Belleville Senators. He was able to earn an amateur tryout after the OHL ended their seasib early because of Covid. Having a bit of pro experience should help earn a job, most likely in Charlotte or Swamp Rabbits, our affiliate in the Coast.
These guys are young and have a very high potential ceiling which would be one of the reasons they get signed as undrafted players for the Florida Panthers. With how things have been regarding Covid Protocol, you can never have too much depth or too many bodies.
For guys like Logan Hutsko, Anton Lundell and Justin Sourdif; this will be there first real NHL professional experience. Of all the players invited to development camp, Matt Kiersted and Anton Lundell seem to be the two most poised to make the Florida main roster.
For a player like Kiersted, we foresee Coach Q using him on the left side with Aaron Ekblad. This will let him develop next to a top NHL defenseman much like how Ekblad got to experience playing with Brian Campbell when he came into the league. Younger d-men mostly always need a safety net and there is none better than Ekblad.
After the 5-day camp, our happy little campers will be heading to Tampa for the annual prospect tournament playing games against the Hurricanes, Bolts, and sexual Predators.
Here is the schedule for the Prospect Showcase Tournament:
Saturday, Sept. 18 – Panthers vs. Hurricanes: 10 A.M.
Sunday, Sept. 19 – Panthers vs. Predators: 10 A.M.
Tuesday, Sept. 21 – Panthers vs. Lightning: 1 P.M.
Stay tuned as we keep you updated in all things Florida Panthers hockey!