Panthers fall 2007 AHL/ECHL update

By Stephen J. Holodinsky

Forwards


Anthony Stewart, RW

6’1, 227 lbs
Acquired: 1st round, 25th overall, 2003 Entry Draft

After two seasons in which circumstances and injury conspired to show a side of Stewart that was underwhelming at best, the former Kingston Frontenac has tried to turn a new page for 2007-08. After a good camp earned him a spot on the Panthers roster for the first five games of the season, he was demoted to Rochester. There he put up a point a game in 18 tilts sandwiching two one-game cameos with the Panthers in between AHL matches. In all, his eight NHL games produced no points, though to be fair, he was played mostly on the fourth line. One sore spot with the big club has been the fact that the 227 lb Stewart, with only five hits and no penalty minutes credited to him, has not been a more intimidating presence. He’s currently still up with the big club.

Stefan Meyer, LW
6’2, 200 lbs
Acquired: 2nd round, 55th overall, 2003 Entry Draft

The left winger suited up 22 games for the Americans and put up eight goals and nine assists, a significant improvement over previous years.

Meyer’s first taste of the NHL has come in this his third season in the AHL. It was only two stints in south Florida, totaling three games in which he only averaged 2:13 worth of ice time per match that was the extent of his experience.

Tanner Glass, LW

6’1, 205 lbs
Acquired: 9th round, 265th overall, 2003 Entry Draft

Up until his recent promotion, Glass spent his first season in professional hockey as a member of the Amerks. In 21 games there he counted only two goals and two assists though he averaged nearly a minor penalty a game.

Glass was called up due to Garth Murray’s shoulder injury and has put in five games with the Panthers thus far this season. He averaged but 3:59 in ice time per game in his time with the big club. If he steps up, he has a chance to keep the spot.

Kenndal McArdle, LW

6’0, 205 lbs
Acquired: 1st round, 20th overall, 2005 Entry Draft

McArdle is coming off a rookie camp in which he put on the kind of display one would expect out of someone two or three years older. McArdle to date has been limited to only 10 games in the AHL in which he has only counted a goal and two assists with nine PIM. For all that McArdle’s true value comes from the things he does that don’t show up on the stat sheet as his fundamentals are off the charts.

David Brine, C
6’1, 201 lbs
Acquired: Signed as a free agent, 2006

An ECHL regular last season with the Florida Everblades, Brine this time is suiting up for the Americans. Playing further down in the rotation, so far the former free agent has tallied two goals and two assists in 23 games with six penalty minutes.

Drew Larman, C
6’3, 188 lbs
Acquired: Signed as a free agent 2005

Larman hasn’t played a full slate of games with Rochester this season due to a separated shoulder. In 13 contests, he has two goals and five points with eight minutes in the penalty box.  The 22-year-old is the Americans’ road captain.

He was given a 16-game trial with the Panthers last season, his second in the AHL, so the possibility exists for another tour of duty with the Panthers this year.

Dan Collins, RW
6’1, 209 lbs
Acquired: 3rd round, 90th overall, 2005 Entry Draft

After 24 games with the Amerks in which he had three goals and five assists with 15 penalty minutes, but a second-worst -14 rating, Collins was sent down to the ECHL. To date, the 20-year-old has played four games and has one assist with seven PiM.

Adam Taylor, C

6’0, 200 lbs
Acquired: Signed as a free agent 2006

As with Collins, Taylor started the season with the Americans and stayed there for 16 games during which he was able to record a single goal while being whistled for eight minutes in penalties. At that time he was assigned to the Florida Everblades in the ECHL and  has so far suited up for six matches, recording two points.

Defense


Peter Aston

6’2, 210 lbs
Acquired: 6th round, 155th overall, 2006 Entry Draft

After having split last season between Assat Pori in Finland and the Oshawa Generals of the OHL, Aston has settled in nicely as a rookie in the AHL. Playing for Rochester he has in 21 games, totaled one goal and five assists so far. While puck movement is a strength with Aston, he needs to work harder at the physical aspects of the game.

Martin Lojek

6’4, 234 lbs
Acquired: 4th round, 105th overall, 2003 Entry Draft

For the second consecutive season, Lojek has started out with the Amerks and is expected to be a pair of safe hands on the blueline. So far in 2007-08, the rearguard has three goals and one assist in 24 games with 26 PiM.  He played three NHL games last year, so a call-up is not out of the question.

Franklin MacDonald

6’0, 198 lbs
Acquired: Signed as a free agent 2006

When the Panthers took a flyer on Franklin MacDonald last year, they found a spot for him with the ECHL’s Florida Everblades after a short stint in Rochester. This season, it has been the reverse. Starting out in the ECHL, the blueliner scored for two goals and six assists in 11 games with 20 minutes in the penalty box before being reassigned to the Americans in the AHL. After seven games there, the offensive-minded MacDonald has two assists and eight minutes in penalties.

Jordan Henry
6’2, 198
Acquired: Signed as a free agent 2007

Henry started out his first season in the organization with the Americans. After two games though, it was evident that he needed ice time if he was going to improve and he wasn’t going to get that where he was.  He was reassigned to Florida in the ECHL. Since his two pointless tilts in the AHL, the defenseman has played in 17 others for the Everblades, tallying two goals and one assist while posting 14 minutes in penalties.  He was called back up to the Americans on Dec. 12 to take the place of a suspended player.

Goaltenders

Tyler Plante
6’3, 207 lbs
Acquired: 2nd round, 32nd overall, 2005 Entry Draft

Sharing time with Carolina’s Justin Peters in the nets of the ECHL’s Florida Everblades, Plante has to date appeared in eight games, putting up a record of four wins and four losses with a 2.64 goals against average and a .924 save percentage. He also appeared in one game with the Rochester Americans letting in three goals on 42 shots in a losing effort for a save percentage of .929. He suffered an upper body injury at one point that kept him out three games.

Everblades coach Gerry Fleming says he has “played well up to this point” and calls him “big body” who “covers a lot of the net” who is “only going to get better and better as time goes on.” As far as what the Brandon, Manitoba native needs to work on the bench boss concedes that “like all young goaltenders rebound control and finding pucks” are things he needs to improve. At the same time however, he points out that “he works on that every day and he’s getting better at it.”

David Shantz
6’1, 192 lbs
Acquired: 2nd round, 37th overall, 2004 Entry Draft

Shantz moved up from the ECHL to the AHL this season but his stats show an unsuccessful move. Coming off a rookie camp in which he fared poorly in all of his starts, Shantz has continued along the same gradient, going 1-6-1 in 11 games with a 4.33 goals against average and a .856 save percentage. The puckstopper needs to turn his season around and quickly.