In times of injury, the Florida Panthers are going to have to show their depth this year if they want to make the playoffs. So when Scottie Upshall came out of the first period Thursday night against the Jets with an undisclosed injury, why not turn to an All-Star to round out the roster?
Evgeny Dadonov was brought back up to the NHL from the San Antonio Rampage of the AHL on Saturday. The last action we saw of Dadonov was in training camp, where he didn’t exactly thrill Dineen or the staff. He was sent down within a week of camp starting. In nine games with the Rampage so far, has 3 goals and 1 assist.
Many Panthers fans could fondly look back at the plays that Dadonov made last year as a midseason call-up. Last year, he scored 8 goals and 9 assists in only 36 games. He was also impressive enough to represent the Florida Panthers last year as their lone All-Star, where he played as one of twelve rookies in the Super Skills competition.
After last year, I thought the future looked bright for Dadonov. He showed a good scoring touch coupled with a surprisingly gritty style of play. He looked like a “Dale Tallon player” to me. I thought he would be guaranteed a roster spot. Unfortunately for him, that was not the case. It became increasingly apparent at the start of the year how tough it would be to secure a roster spot with all of the new acquisitions. There were a large number of players fighting for only a few spots that were up for grabs. He stumbled early in camp and wasn’t given much time to recover. Tallon probably sent him down not as an affront to Dadonov, but as a message to the rest of the players. Dale wanted players who could play tough and consistently, and it didn’t matter what the names on the back of the players’ jerseys said. If you didn’t measure up, you were going to start the year in the AHL. It was too bad that Dadonov had to be the sacrificial lamb, but everyone got the message.
So far, the Panthers are 8-4-3 to kick off the season, and have a few games in hand to start moving up the conference standings. We’ll see now what Dadonov can do to move the Panthers up, and whether or not he can force Tallon’s hand to keep him with the team even after Upshall returns from injury.
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