With arguably the best group of prospects in the NHL, the Florida Panthers and their fans have a lot to be excited about coming into the 2012-13 season, at all levels of play. In fact, the argument could be made that the Panthers have players who are among the very best of prospects in the CHL, NCAA, and AHL. That means, despite the lockout that currently has hockey fans looking beyond the NHL to fill their passion for the sport, there are plenty of intriguing Panthers' prospect stories playing out all over North America and beyond.
Over the last three drafts, the Florida Panthers managed to stockpile an incredible array of young prospects. Some top-flight prospects such as former third-overall draft pick Jonathan Huberdeau, Quinton Howden, and Alex Petrovic will make their official professional debuts this fall. Other top prospects like Nick Bjugstad, Kyle Rau, and Corban Knight will return to their college programs, ready to resume their quests for a national title.
The 2011-12 NCAA season featured many excellent forwards, a number of whom have already begun their professional careers. The 10 players listed below are among them and have yet to sign pro contacts. Most, if not all, will likely return to their respective collegiate teams this fall.
With one of the deepest and most talented prospect pools in the league, it should come as no surprise that the Florida Panthers have prospects in the post-season at almost every level imaginable, from the WHL to the AHL to the European leagues.
Brace Hemmelgarn/Icon SMI)
Minnesota sophomore Nick Bjugstad (FLA) has been a key cog in the success of the Minnesota Golden Gophers this season. He currently leads the team with 25 goals and ranks on the team with 42 points, centering one of the nation's most dynamic lines that includes fellow Florida Panthers prospect Kyle Rau and redshirted sophomore Zach Budish (NSH).