Vincent Muzik/Icon SMI)
Hockey's Future caught up with Kyle Rau after practice last Wednesday at the Tampa Times Forum.
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).
enviable position: 4 picks in the Top 50, and the draft in their home court.
the Florida Panthers have the chance to stock their bare cupboards with some
blue-chip talent, and possibly bring in some older talent to help them compete
in the near future. As with any bottom-feeder squad, there are many gaping holes
to be filled. First, a look at the essentials.
Of the 6 First Round picks the Panthers have had, 4 of them have been from the CHL.
26 of the past 36 Panthers picks have been from the CHL, with many of them being ‘safe’
‘character’ players that have amounted to absolutely nothing.
college pick of note), and have not ventured often into Europe, including just three picks
from the Czech Republic and ZERO picks from Slovakia.
in the standings, and on the farm. When the Panthers have ventured into uncharted waters
(Europe), they have had good success. Radek Dvorak, Filip Kuba, Oleg Kvasha, Kristian Huselius,
Jaro Spacek, Niklas Hagman, Marcus Nilson and Vladimir Saphozhnikov have all been very good
picks, and since the Panthers have only picked twelve European players since 1995, they have had
a Read more»
The 99-00 season didn’t offer a lot of roster spots to Panthers prospects and rookies because during the 1998-99 season the Panthers had 4 rookies play
complete seasons (Parrish, Worrell, Spacek, and Kvasha), and they all earned full-time roster spots that year. In addition, this
year saw the surprising resurrection of Cam Stewart, and the signing of veteran Ray Sheppard for a bargain basement price.
Add all of these factors together, combined with the AHL Louisville Panthers needing a full roster of prospects, and it didn’t give much chance for a
young player to earn a spot on the big club and make a noticeable contribution, ala Scott Gomez, Maxim Afigenenov, Brad
Stuart, or Michael York.