Panthers NCAA prospects update

By Matt MacInnis





David Booth

The Florida Panthers have nine players in the NCAA
this season. Most of these players are
larger players, and all of them other than David
Booth
were taken outside of the top 100 in their respective draft
years. Some players are finding their
form for the first time in the NCAA while others are struggling to get ice time
or put up the numbers the organization is hoping to see.

 

 

David Booth, LW (53rd
overall, 2004)

 

The second round pick is struggling to find his form
in his junior season with Michigan State.
After 16 games he has scored just three times, and is on pace to finish
around the same 18 points he registered last season. Booth was a standout as a freshman, scoring 17 times and
compiling 36 assists. Healthy this
year, the Panthers hope he will be able to return to that offensive
production.

 

Booth plays a physical game and is very, very strong
on his skates. He is good along the
boards, winning battles and creating chances from the cycle. He has demonstrated good patience with the
puck and may have an untapped finesse side.
He’s defensively conscious and could turn into a top checking line
player in time.

 

Last year Booth was a part of the United States’ WJC
gold-medal winning team, but is too old to return to the squad this year.

 

Team

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

+/-

Michigan State

16

3

5

8

41

-1

 

 

Michael
Woodford
, RW (117th overall, 2001)

 

Woodford has played in six of the 14 games this year
for Michigan. The senior, whose numbers
have fallen each year since recording 19 points as a freshman on a team that
included Mike Komisarek and Mike Cammalleri, may be hard pressed to
match his six points in 40 games from last season if he continues to miss
games. If he continues to play as he
has this year, there is a good chance Woodford may be cut loose by Florida.

 

Team

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

+/-

Michigan

6

1

1

2

6

+2

 

 

James
Pemberton
, D (124th overall, 2003)

 

The Friar junior has started off the 2004-05 season
with the best numbers of his career.
His career best 11 points was set in his freshman season and Pemberton
is on pace to double that number. This
is excellent news for the Panthers who took the 6’4 215-pound blueliner for his
offensive skills as well as his size.
Pemberton was unable to put up big numbers in his first two years in
Providence, but seems to have gotten that part of his game on track.

 

Although he has been unable to put up the stats the
Panthers were hoping for the past two seasons, he had stepped into a big role
with the Friars defensively. Pemberton
continues to be on of the team’s best all around defenders and plays in all
situations. If he continues to evolve
his offensive skills as his defense improves, he has a good future.

 

Team

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

+/-

Providence

15

1

6

7

10

+1

 

 

Dan Travis,
RW (141st overall, 2003)

 

The burly (6’3, 215 lbs) winger has only played in 9
of the Wildcats’ 16 games this year, registering two assists. Last year Travis had problems cracking the
UNH line-up, appearing in only 14 games, compiling six points. When he has played, it has been only
sparingly on the fourth line. Not being
able to get in the line-up every day despite his size and physical style of
play has to be a concern for the Panthers.

Team

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

+/-

New Hampshire

9

0

2

2

6

0

 

 

 

Vince
Bellissimo
, C (158th overall, 2002)

 

The junior led the Broncos in scoring last year with
40 points in 38 games and is showing signs of putting up similar offensive
numbers this year despite missing two games earlier this season. Bellissimo is not a highly skilled player,
but is able to generate offense through his hard work, particularly driving to
the net for rebounds and taking abuse in front of the net and tipping it past
the goaltender.

 

Western Michigan has a record of 8-7-1, although they
have struggled with conference play, posting a record of just 4-7-1. Bellissimo is currently second in team
scoring behind fellow junior Brent
Walton
. Vince’s brother, Daniel, is
a freshman goaltender with the team, and has started 15 of the team’s 16 games.

 

Team

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

+/-

Western Michigan

14

7

9

16

41

-2

 

 

 

Drew
Bagnall
, D (195th overall, 2003 – by Dallas)

 

Bagnall was acquired from Dallas for Valeri Bure near
the trade deadline last year. It’s
never easy being a prospect dealt for an NHL player because of the expectations
that follow. Bagnall is definitely a
project, needing several years before pro hockey is a consideration, but he
does possess good tools to build upon.

 

Before moving to St. Lawrence, he was named the top
defenseman in the SJHL, playing with the Battleford North Stars. He is a blend of a physical defenseman who
always likes to get involved in the offense, both off the rush and while
playing in the point on the power play.
Bagnall has shown both aspects of his game this season, averaging
roughly half a point per game and over two PIM per contest.

Team

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

+/-

St. Lawrence

15

3

4

7

34

+2

 

 

Peter
Hafner
, D (232nd overall, 2002)

 

Another late round pick, the defender is currently
playing as a junior for the Harvard.
The 6’5 blueliner is a defensive player who uses his long reach to his
advantage to poke pucks loose. He is
physical in front of the net and is able to move bodies from his goalie’s lane
of vision. He moves decently for a
player of his height but rarely jumps into the rush despite possessing good
passing skills. He has a tendency to
pass the puck off when he has an open shot as well.

So far this year Hafner has continued to play as he
has in his previous two seasons. He is
on pace to finish with roughly the same number of points, although his time in
the penalty box is increasing. Hafner’s
height may earn him a professional contract, but he will need to add some
weight to his frame to be more effective at a higher level.

 

Team

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

+/-

Harvard

12

0

2

2

12

N/A

 

 

Tanner
Glass
, LW (265th overall, 2003)

 

The Panthers ninth round selection in 2003 is off to
a good start with the Big Green as a sophomore. Although he has missed one game, Glass currently sits in second
for most points on the team and is tied with several players with the goal
scoring lead. The grinding winger
continues to play fearlessly and takes a lot of punishment for the points he
earns. His offensive success thus far
into the season can be considered a bonus for the Panthers who appear to have a
potential player on their hands with this ninth round pick. Still two years away from professional
hockey, Glass faces a long road ahead of himself, but he has at least begun to
step in the right direction.

 

Team

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

+/-

Dartmouth

9

3

4

7

6

N/A

 

 

Luke
Beaverson
, D (283rd overall, 2004)

 

Beaverson was one of the last players taken in the
most recent NHL Entry Draft, picked from the Green Bay Gamblers of the
USHL. He is a very physical and rugged
player who uses his size to his advantage and punishes opposing forwards. The 6’5, 211 lbs defender is listed at two
inches taller than in the draft half a year ago. One positive indicator for
Beaverson is that he has dressed for every SeaWolves game this year as a
freshman defender. He needs a lot of
refinement in his skating and hockey skills, but his size makes him intriguing
right now.

 

Team

GP

G

A

PTS

PIM

+/-

Alaska-Anchorage

16

0

1

1

18

-2

 

 

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