First off, it’s one game. One preseason game at that. One preseason game against a half veteran squad. I get it. But for several players hoping to stay in Sunrise through the winter, it might have seemed like Game One of a playoff series.
When Dale Tallon arrived on the scene in May, he affirmed that no one’s job is safe and there will be open competition. A handful of young Panthers took that to heart in the first game of the preseason Tuesday.
Erik Gudbranson, in his first full preseason game, notched his first professional goal and assist less than six minutes into the first period. In between, Mike Santorelli scored his first goal as a Panther. Evgeny Dadonov added two assists.
All three players have outside hopes of making the club, so a fast start, no matter the situation, was imperative. And while evaluations from fans might be difficult, as there was no TV broadcast of the game, the stat sheet speaks volumes. This club is in desperate need of guys who produce points. For those guys hoping to stick around, it certainly looks good on paper. The question now becomes is how will they do against lineups that will feature more NHL regulars as the regular season approaches?
The next chance to impress comes Thursday in Rochester, NY, home of the Panthers AHL affiliate. Which is ironic because, most of those who fail to impress will make Rochester their winter home.
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