Dadonov Stands Out At Rookie Games

Dadonov was one of few offensive bright spots during the rookie games. Photo source:

Back in May, Evgeny Dadonov went on record as saying that if the Panthers didn’t guarantee him a spot in the big time, that he’d go back to Russia to play in the KHL.  While his performance in the Panthers rookie games the past two days won’t land him a spot, he will definitely be a player to watch as Panthers Training Camp opens Saturday in Coral Springs.

Dadonov showed a lot of skills you want in a forward:  He skated well, drove the puck to the net, didn’t quit on plays, and didn’t avoid contact.  Despite not tallying a goal in the two games (only a beautiful right pad save kept him off the scoresheet Wednesday) most of the Cats best scoring chances came with his involvement.

It bothers you that a guy who has yet to tally an NHL point (4 career games, to be fair) is making ultimatums and Dale Tallon doesn’t seem to be a guy to up with that sort of thing.  But he has a golden opportunity to show the Panthers that he can score goals for a team that will desperately need them.  Dadonov’s ability is the only thing that can guarantee him a spot, his mouth will just send him back to Russia.

Notes from Rookie Game #2

-Erik Gudbranson had a better game defensively, breaking up a 2-on-1 opportunity for the Predators.  He notched his first professional fight, a late second period scrap with Blake Geoffrion.  Tough to see from where I was sitting, but it looked like a draw.  After a particularly rough offensive shift, he came back to the bench and broke his stick on the top of the boards.  He’s not NHL ready now, in my opinion, but it looks like we got a good one.  He’s only going to get bigger and stronger and I really liked the nasty streak he displayed.  Even during the shootout, he was jawing with Nashville’s Michael Latta from the bench area.

-Hard to really evaluate some of the other guys as the Panthers were pretty outmatched.  The passing was bad, as well.  Either Nashville got a stick to the pass, or it was a step ahead/behind.  Liked what I saw from John McFarland.  The kid is FAST and had a couple nice rushes at the net. Quinton Howden looks a lot bigger than his listed 6-0, 192 lbs.  Can’t wait to see what some of these guys do against the veterans.

-Markstrom let five goals in, but didn’t get a whole lot of help from his defense.  He made some nice saves, but needs to work on rebound control.  Something I noticed, he looks somewhat vulnerable five-hole. He gave up a few in warm ups and and one in the exhibition shootout after the game (couldn’t tell from where I was sitting if any of the goals in the game went the same way).  It looks like a pretty sizeable area to shoot at.  Hopefully, it was just an aberration of a player I saw play for the first time.

Next up:  Saturday’s first practice!  Hope to see/meet some of you there!

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  • HANK

    frank, these 2 games really showed how bad our scouting staff is, right?

  • Frank Rekas

    Hank: While I was at game one, Dave my new associate on the site was at game two. His assessment of both games indicates that yes, our scouting staff has made some mistakes.
    One thing I can say about Nashville on Wednesday night is that they looked like they’ve been playing together for months, not days.

  • David Lasseter

    According to Harvey Fialkov’s post game coverage for the Sun Sentinel, for some of the Predators, this was their third year doing this and many have AHL experience, which explains a lot. That said, Scott Luce doesn’t exactly have my faith. He’s been here a long time so he can share in some of the blame for what’s gone on here.

  • slapshot1106

    I think the Gudbrandson pick will be a better character signing overall in the long run… I think it was more an image thing with Tallon, rather than taking a chance on a softer FWD… He may be more like a Bryan Allen than a Chris Pronger, but I think you do have to like his character…

    I myself have long criticized Luce and their lack of production, but I think you have to give him a little slack on the new guys… I think Bjugstad pick is solid, Howden seemed like more of a stretch… McFarland sounds like he could be a producer, and they were lucky he was still around when they got him in the 2nd… Actually, they probably should’ve taken him BEFORE Howden…

    It would be nice if someone like Dadonov were to succeed, but I do think he will bolt to the KHL if he’s not in the plans in the first few months… The good think about guys like Gudbrandson is that even if he doesn’t have Top4 NHL Dmen talent, he’s a quality character guy to have around for leadership…. And even if somehow he doesn’t manage to pan out as an NHLer, he’ll definitely make it as an asset as an AHLer… And the problem with the last 10 years is not just the misses drafting top-line talent, but the overall lack of organizational depth that many of them can’t even make it as quality AHLers…

  • Frank Rekas

    Slapshot: You’re spot on with the comments. The newer players that came in this year’s draft get a pass so far, and actually McFarland looked pretty good.
    The others that are attmepting to make the squad for the third time are most likely never going to see the NHL.

    To be manhandled in two games the way we were says alot about two areas.
    1) scouting and Scott Luce, who I still think needs to be shown the door.
    2) Player development. Or lack of.