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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