SUNRISE, Fla. – It may still only be mid-August, but a new hockey season is getting so close you can practically smell it.
On Wednesday, Florida Panthers General Manager Bill Zito released the team’s roster for its annual development camp.
Zito also announced that the Panthers youngsters would be participating in a four-team tournament right after the camp concludes.
Development camp will take place from Sept. 10-14 at the Panthers IceDen in Coral Springs and include both on-ice and off-ice activities.
The Prospect Showcase Tournament, which is being hosted by the Tampa Bay Lighting, will run from Sept. 18-21 at AdventHealth Center Ice in Wesley Chapel, FL. The participating teams are Florida, Tampa Bay, the Nashville Predators, and the Carolina Hurricanes.
Last year the Panthers did not hold a development camp due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but thankfully that appears to have only been a one-off.
“After being unable to hold a development camp last summer, we are excited to be able to welcome many of our prospects back to South Florida for these events,” Zito said in a statement released by the team. “As they work toward becoming professional hockey players, camps such as this provide invaluable resources.”
Included on the Panthers development camp roster are several players who could make an impact at the NHL level sooner rather than later.
Forwards Anton Lundell and Grigori Denisenko, defenseman Matt Kiersted and goaltender Spencer Knight could all see action with the Panthers at some point this season, with Knight in particular expected to shoulder at least a reasonable amount of starts while working in tandem with fellow netminder Sergei Bobrovsky.
Logan Hutsko, who will be playing in his first professional season after a successful NCAA stint at Boston College, is someone to keep an eye on, as is Serron Noel, who had four points in eight AHL games during his pro debut last year.
There are also a group of forwards coming from Canadian junior leagues that will be looking to turn some heads, including Justin Sourdif, Trevor Wong and Simon Pinard.
As for the defenseman, two of Florida’s selections from last month’s NHL Draft will be at camp: second-round pick Evan Nause and seventh-round selection Braden Haché.
In terms of guys getting closer to cracking the NHL roster, a pair of d-men who could potentially make some noise among the Panthers bubble-rearguards are Max Gildon and John Ludvig. Both made their pro debuts in the AHL last season.
Gildon racked up 19 points in 32 games while on loan with Bakersfield while Ludvig, who played with Florida’s youngsters in Syracuse, accumulated eight points in 13 AHL games.
The full development camp roster can be found by clicking here.
When camp ends, the young Panthers will have a couple days to catch their collective breaths before heading north for the prospect showcase.
The Panthers tournament schedule is as follows:
Sept. 18 - Florida vs. Carolina, 10 a.m.
Sept. 19 – Nashville vs. Florida, 10 a.m.
Sept. 20 – practice day
Sept 21 – Florida vs. Tampa Bay, 1 p.m.
It has not been said yet whether these games will be open to the public, or if the Panthers plan to broadcast or stream them. More details are expected from the team between now and the beginning of camp.
Tampa Bay is offering a live stream of all Lightning games on the team’s official website.