The season is over for the Florida Panthers which means the return of players previously called up and also that the only way players will leave the Amerks lineup is with an injury. The end of the Panthers season meant that seven players were sent to the Amerks for the playoffs.
Hershey Bears head Coach Mark French said to me back in January at the AHL All-Star game that he thought the Amerks were a really good team, “if the Panthers would leave them alone.” Pretty strong statement from the coach of the best team in the league and now it’s time to see.
A few players were also released. Corey Syvret, Alex Petizian and Andrew Lord were released. Lord is rejoining his ECHL team the Wheeling Nailers.
The players returning to the Amerks are Shawn Matthias, Jason Garrison, Keaton Ellerby, Steve MacIntyre, Victor Oreskovich, Evgeny Dadonov and Tyler Plante.
There is some concern about the players getting back into the Amerks system, the different level of play and also some chemistry. I’d say the hope is that after time in the NHL they’ll all be ready to accomplish something special in the AHL before some of them have full time jobs in the NHL next season.
Keaton Ellerby is the player to be the most concerned about because of the lack of ice time he had playing with the Florida Panthers and the lack of confidence Pete DeBoer had with him. Ellerby has shown many times why he was a first round draft pick and now will be the time for him to really play the best hockey of his career.
The season is starting over. The past inconsistencies are behind them. I get the sense that the excitement that existed amongst this team back in late October is here again.
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