The Florida Panthers have called up forward Drew Shore and defenseman Alex Petrovic from their AHL affiliate the San Antonio Rampage. Shore will be filling in for the injured Scottie Upshall who sustained an upper-body injury in Monday’s 6-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning. His injury does not appear to be too serious and head coach Peter Horachek said he does not see it being a long term-absence.
Alex Petrovic was called up for Monday’s game against Tampa to fill in for Erik Gudbranson, who will miss the next couple weeks after having surgery on his orbital bone. The Panthers sent Petro back down to the minors after the Lightning game but as expected, they have re-called him in advance of Saturday’s matchup against the Detroit Red Wings.
Drew Shore, 22, was forced into the Panthers lineup last season because of injuries but he seized that opportunity and parlayed it into a 43 game season in which he tallied three goals and ten assists. Shore was expected to be a part of the Panthers lineup this season and while he made the team out of camp, he was demoted after just two games.
Shore has been playing for the San Antonio Rampage of the AHL where he has been working at the wing position in an effort to improve his versatility and allow him to crack the Panthers roster that looks to be stockpiled with big-centermen. In 28 games with San Antonio, Shore has zero goals and 15 assists. Head coach Peter Horachek told the Sun-Sentinel that despite not finding the back of the net, Shore has been playing solid hockey and he deserves the chance at the NHL level.
“He’s playing his best hockey right now; he hasn’t scored but he’s been snakebit,” Horachek said. “He’s not worried about having that in the back of his mind, just concentrate on playing solid hockey on both ends of the rink. He’s been their most consistent guy of late and deserves that opportunity.”
It looks like Shore will play alongside Jimmy Hayes and some combination of Krys Barch and Scott Gomez. Whether he plays at center or on the wing probably depends on whether it is Gomez or Barch in the lineup on any given night.
Alex Petrovic, 21, will get a couple weeks of NHL action as he looks to be the player selected to fill in for Erik Gudbranson as Guddy recovers from face surgery. Petrovic made his NHL debut at the end of last season when he played in six games on the Panther blue line, registering zero points during that span. This season with San Antonio, Petro has tallied two goals and eleven assists in 30 game. He has a +6 rating on the season.
The Panthers, who have been relatively healthy for most of the season, will also be without Jesse Winchester for the immediate future. Winchester has been out of the lineup since Florida’s December 15th game against Montreal where he injured his hand blocking a shot. He was skating with a cast today during Panthers’ practice.
On a positive note, Tim Thomas has been activated off IR and should be in the net Saturday against Detroit. The Panthers will look to extend their record to 4-0 on HBO’s 24/7. Since filming has started, the Panthers have beaten Detroit twice and Toronto once.