The Florida Panthers will open their annual development camp about an hour outside of Toronto next week at the Teen Ranch, it feels like it was just yesterday that we wrote about our visit to last years camp.
The camp is a great place for signed and unsigned prospects to get the chance to go through on and off ice workouts with NHL coaches and trainers. At the camp they’ll cover everything related to the on ice game, strength and conditioning, and mainting a proper diet as well.
We last talked to the players in April when they cleaned out their lockers with the Rochester Americans and the last words were, “see you at camp.”
A list of players invited is expected prior to the start of camp on Friday, when I get it I’ll make sure to post it.
This will be the first chance this off season that players will get to make an impression hoping to get a spot on the Panthers lineup next season.
Shawn Matthias, Keaton Ellerby, Michael Caruso, and Tanner Glass are four players that expectations will be high on. Matthias had a horrible rookie year in Rochester and is looking to prove he’s capable of playing. Ellerby and Caruso are the top two defensive prospects, many experts are saying that Ellerby has a chance to break into the Panthers lineup. Tanner Glass was injured for most of the 08/09 season but still played well, the season before he spent half of in Florida so he’s looking to get back into the game.
Mike Duco could be the surprise of the year. He can skate. He can score. He knows how to get under opposing players skins.
Matt Duffy showed a lot of potential at the end of the season with the Amerks and then with the Florida Everblades. He’s still unsigned but I would expect (hope) he’ll be offered an entry level contract any day now.
The only goaltender we know right now that will be there is Tyler Plante. His season with the Amerks ended early with a shoulder injury, but he said he plans to be at the camp. Plante had a rocky start to the 08/09 season but after he spent time in the ECHL he came back ready to play.
Jacob Markstrom and Sergei Gayduchenko are two other goaltenders that are property of the Panthers, both prospects are signed overseas through the end of 09/10 season but could possibly be at the camp.
Evgeni Dadonov had said recently he would be at a Panthers camp this summer, whether it’s this one or not we’re not sure, but he looked great last year and whenever he’s ready to play on this side of the pond many expect that he’ll skip Rochester and head straight for Florida.
We’ll be there for three days next week and will try and have a lot to follow up with.