Panthers CHL prospects update

By EM Brown

Dan Collins, RW – Plymouth Whalers (OHL)
Height: 6’2, Weight: 200 lbs., Birthdate: Feb. 26, 1987
Acquired: 2005 NHL Entry Draft (Third round, 90th overall)

Many thought Florida took a chance on Collins when they drafted the
average-rated winger in the third round of the 2005 NHL Entry
Draft. The Panthers, however, may have found a real gem in the
Syracuse, N.Y. native. Often noted for his lack of consistency,
Collins put extra effort into his game this season and has become
an offensive force. The winger has concentrated on limiting turnovers,
winning one-on-one battles and developing patience with his
puckhandling and shot. The result? A team-leading 14 goals and 13
assists in 18 games. In the Whalers’ five-game winning streak in
mid-October, he earned first-star honors in three consecutive games.


Olivier Legault, LW – Lewiston MAINEiacs (QMJHL)
Height: 6’5, Weight: 234 lbs., Birthdate: Feb. 10, 1986
Acquired: 2005 NHL Entry Draft (Fourth round, 93rd overall)

If the Panthers drafted Legault for his size and toughness, the
hulking winger has lived up to expectations. Counting on anything more
from the 19-year-old would simply be unfair. Legault’s reputation as a
tough guy is evident by his 53 penalty minutes, which includes five
fighting majors and three game misconducts in 17 games with the
MAINEiacs. A native of Chibougamau, Quebec, Legault has just one goal
and five assists in 126 games of his QMJHL career and has yet to
register a point this season.


Kenndal McArdle, LW – Moose Jaw Warriors (WHL)
Height: 5’11, Weight: 195 lbs., Birthdate: Jan. 4, 1987
Acquired: 2005 NHL Entry Draft (First round, 20th overall)

McArdle has been a model of consistency in his fourth Western Hockey
League season. Florida’s top pick in 2005, the Burnaby, B.C. native
has collected seven goals and 12 assists — including two
multiple-goal and six multiple-point games, in 19 total games. He has
recorded at least one point in all but eight games this season, which
includes a four-game drought in early October. McArdle, who was
invited to join Team WHL in the 2005 Canada-Russia Challenge, has also
shown the feisty side Panthers General Manager Mike Keenan drafted him
for, recording 51 penalty minutes.

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Bret Nasby, D – Oshawa Generals (OHL)
Height: 6’3, Weight: 191 lbs., Birthdate: March 22, 1986
Acquired: 2004 NHL Entry Draft (Fifth round, 152nd overall)

Nasby showed plenty of solid play and promise to start the season
until a groin injury sidelined him in late October. Named an alternate
captain prior to the season, the 19-year-old emerged as one of the
Generals’ top defensemen. Although he doesn’t have the characteristics
of an offensive-defenseman, Nasby found ways to contribute
offensively, registering three goals and five assists in 12 games.


Tyler Plante, G – Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL)
Height: 6’2, Weight: 185 lbs., Birthdate: May 17, 1987
Acquired: 2005 NHL Entry Draft (Second round, 32nd overall)

Scouts will be taking a hard look at Plante over the next few seasons,
trying to determine whether his rookie success was the result of
talent or the team in front of him. The 2004 WHL Rookie of the Year
has struggled in his sophomore season, posting a 5-10-2-1 record and a
league-worst 4.84 goals-against average in 15 games with the
last place Wheat Kings. His frustration has shown at times, including
an incident following a 4-3 loss to the Everett Silvertips in which he
swung his stick at the glass, shattering it, and received a game
misconduct. Plante’s numbers may simply reflect the fact Brandon
graduated six of its top scorers, putting more pressure on an
overtaxed defense. The 19-year-old still has plenty of time to
develop, and if there is one positive to consider it is the fact he
has backstopped the Wheat Kings in all five of their wins this season.


Evan Schafer, D – Prince Albert Raiders (WHL)
Height: 6’3, Weight: 226 lbs., Birthdate: Oct. 9, 1985
Acquired: 2004 NHL Entry Draft (Fourth round, 105th overall)

So far, it has been a quiet year for Schafer. The 20-year-old has
notched two goals and an assist, and is -4 in 18 games with the
struggling Raiders. Known for his physical side, Schafer has amassed
53 penalty minutes, including one fighting major and one game

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David Shantz, G – Peterborough Petes (OHL)
Height: 6’1, Weight: 190 lbs., Birthdate: May 5, 1986
Acquired: 2004 NHL Entry Draft (Second round, 37th overall)

Acquired by the Petes in an offseason trade, Shantz has seen his game
rejuvenated this year. The 19-year-old, who posted a 10-10-3-1 record
with the Mississauga Ice Dogs last season, has backstopped the
first-place Petes in nine of their 14 victories this year. In four of
those wins, he has held opponents to just one goal. Although Shantz’s
goals-against average (3.24) and save percentage (.905) are average,
he has been a reliable netminder for Peterborough.


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