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New Starts

Jacob Markstrom prepares to receive the puck.

The Panthers invited several prospects on to the ice at the Saveology Iceplex Saturday morning. I joined Frank and David at the rink, and we were given a taste of the future of the franchise. In addition to attending rookie camp, GM Dale Tallon officially announced that Cory Stillman, who played for the Panthers last season but was traded to the Carolina Hurricanes on Feburary 24th, would be rejoining the Panthers as Player Development Assistant. Stillman will be working alongside Panthers Director of Player Development Brian Skurdland.

     Stillman wraps up an impressive career in which he amassed over 600 points in 1,025 NHL games for the Flames, Blues, Lightning, and Hurricanes. He helped win the Stanley Cup as a member of the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2005. After the Lockout, he earned the right to lift the Cup a second time as a member of the Carolina Hurricanes. After deciding earlier this week to retire, he returns to Florida to take an influential position that will help shape the club into a consistent contender.

You can’t expect to learn everything about the players that were invited to rookie camp by watching them practice for a couple of hours, but I witnessed good signs that the organization is moving in the right direction.  Swedish goaltender Jacob Markstrom appeared sharp, making several glove saves, and moving out of his net to challenge the shooter. Forward Quinton Howden, who had 40 goals for Moose Jaw of the WHL last season, and 2010 3rd overall pick Erik Gudbranson appear ready to battle for a spot on the Panthers roster. I particularly saw one new face that I was happy to see getting in those dirty areas and screening the goaltender, that was 2011 3rd overall pick Jonathan Huberdeau.

I’d also like to thank COO Michael Yormark and Brooklyn Water Bagel Co. who served complimentary bagels for all of the patrons at the Saveology Iceplex.

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Topics: Calgary Flames, Carolina Hurricanes, Cory Stillman, Erik Gudbranson, Jacob Markstrom, Jonathan Huberdeau, Michael Yormark, Quinton Howden, Saveology, St Louis Blues, Tampa Bay Lightning

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