The Florida Panthers have just announced the first round of cuts from the roster. According to the Panthers website, the following players will remain in San Antonio:
Forwards: Jonathan Hazen, Anthony Luciani, Mattias Lindstrom, Philippe Lefebvre, John McFarland, Logan Shaw, Garrett Wilson, Jack Combs, Philippe Cornet, Jared Gomes, Wade Megan, Jed Ortmeyer
Defense: Josh McFadden, Alex Petrovic, Jonathan Racine, Zack Miskovic, John Lee, Tony Turgeon, Dennis Urban
Goalies: Dov Grumet-Morris, Rob Madore
The team also announced that veteran defenseman Brett Clark has been released from his professional try-out.
The big surprise out of the players cut is defenseman Alex Petrovic. I expected him to be competing for one of the final defense spots. With 22 players gone, the camp roster sits at 38 players, 23 forwards, 11 defensemen and four goalies. Here are the remaining players:
Forwards: Joey Crabb, Jonathan Huberdeau, Steve Pinizzotto, Tomas Fleischmann, Drew Shore, Aleksander Barkov, Jesse Winchester, Shawn Matthias, Scottie Upshall, Sean Bergenheim, Brad Boyes, Scott Gomez, Bobby Butler, Nick Bjugstad, Kris Versteeg, Greg Rallo, Jon Matsumoto, Quinton Howden, Marcel Goc, Vince Trocheck, Scott Timmins, Eric Selleck, Tomas Kopecky
Defense: Dmitry Kulikov, Mike Mottau, Mike Weaver, Erik Gudbranson, Colby Robak, Brian Campbell, Ed Jovanovski, Michael Caruso, Josh Brown, Matt Gilroy, MacKenzie Weegar
Goalies: Michael Houser, Scott Clemmensen, Jacob Markstrom, Tim Thomas
There are still a number of cuts to be made. Looking at the players remaining, here is my best guess how things play out:
The Low End Theory: (the locks)
Forwards: Jonathan Huberdeau, Tomas Fleischmann, Shawn Matthias, Scottie Upshall, Sean Bergenheim, Kris Versteeg, Marcel Goc, Tomas Kopecky
Defense: Dmitry Kulikov, Mike Weaver, Erik Gudbranson, Brian Campbell, Ed Jovanovski
3 Feet High And Rising: (the bubble)
Forwards: Joey Crabb, Drew Shore, Aleksander Barkov, Jesse Winchester, Brad Boyes, Scott Gomez, Bobby Butler
Defense: Mike Mottau, Colby Robak, Michael Caruso, Matt Gilroy
Straight Out The Jungle (the long shots)
Forwards: Steve Pinizzotto, Nick Bjugstad, Greg Rallo, Jon Matsumoto, Quinton Howden, Vince Trocheck, Scott Timmins, Eric Selleck
Defense: Josh Brown, MacKenzie Weegar
Thoughts on the roster:
- Josh Brown and McKenzie Weegar, a pair of 19 year old defensemen, are surprisingly still with the team. That does not necessarily mean the Panthers think they are better than a player like Alex Petrovic. I think the Panthers plan on sending both Weegar and Brown back to their respective junior clubs so keeping them in Panthers camp until then is a great chance for each player to gain valuable experience.
- Alexander Barkov is just about a lock to make the roster but I put him on the bubble because he has yet to play a single NHL game and I couldn’t categorize such a young, inexperienced player as a lock.
- It is looking more and more like youngsters Howden, Bjugstad etc will not make the roster. Barring injuries to any of the above locks, there will be four forward positions open. From the bubble group I think Gomez, Boyes and Barkov are a pretty safe bet for three of those spots. That means the last spot will be between Butler, Crabb, Shore and Winchester and to be honest I have no idea who wins it.