Panthers Training Camp News

By Bryan Taylor

Johnson has a strong camp

Ryan Johnson the 36th overall pick in the 1994 draft has bulked up and is now ready to compete in the NHL. After playing with Carolina last year on the checking line, he is ready to step up and take over a role for the Panthers. There is only 1 problem. The Panthers already have a jam at the forward position with 15 veterans. Due to this fact, Johnson may see another year in Carolina. Coach MacLean is very high on the condition and play of this youngster. “Ryan Johnson has had a great training camp,” MacLean said Monday. “It was his first year in pro hockey,” MacLean said. “He had almost 20 goals as
a checking center in the American Hockey League. He’s in phenomenal shape and he has an asset that’s very valuable — tremendous speed.” With all these characteristics, Johnson has a shot at fighting for that 5th C spot. He is still young, and has everything it takes to one day strive in the NHL. He may not make it this year but watch out, Ryan Johnson is a name to remember for next year.

Weekes awaits his turn

Weekes has been in the Panther organization for what seems to be forever, It really hasnt been that long, he was drafted in 1993 draft, but has always been a name heard when training camp came around. “Kevin is probably our No. 3 guy in the organization,” Panthers Coach Doug MacLean said. “He has unlimited potential. If something happens, we would be comfortable bringing Kevin or Todd MacDonald up.” As you can see, he is very talented, but playing behind the Beezer and Fitz, your chances to make it in the NHL is gonna be slim to none. Weekes has already played 2 years in Carolina and is expected to be the starting goaltender for Fort Wayne of the IHL. “He has the ability to almost carry a team,” Panthers General Manager Bryan Murray said. “If he goes to Fort Wayne and helps them win by being spectacular some nights and very good other nights, we’ll know he’s made it. That’s when you know you have a top guy.” Well Weekes could one day be that “Top Guy” but he will have to wait his turn in line behind the Beezer, and Mark Fitzpatrick. How long will that be? Only Coach MacLean can decide….

Optioned to juniors or the minors were:

Armstrong (Fort Wayne, IHL)

Mike Brown (Kamloops, WHL)

Ivan Novaseltsev (Sarnia, OHL)

Vratislav Cech (Kitchener, OHL)

Mike Lankshear (Windsor, OHL)

Wes Swinson (New Haven, AHL)

Ashley Buckberger (New Haven, AHL)

Gaeten Poirier (Canadien national team)

Keith Delaney (Barrie, OHL)

Chris Allen (Kingston, OHL)

Nick Smith (Barrie, OHL)

Joey Tetarenko (Portland, WHL)

Andrew Long (Guelph, OHL)

David Lemanowicz (New Haven, AHL)