Photo: Selected 14th overall in the 2009 NHL Draft, Dmitri Kulikov has developed into a steady, two-way defenseman for the Florida Panthers. (courtesy of Rich Graessle/Icon SMI)
The Florida Panthers entered the 2009 NHL Draft with a new general manager in Randy Sexton, a cornerstone defenseman about to leave the team via free agency in Jay Bouwmeester, and a desperate need for an infusion of offensive skill.
Photo: Forward Yaroslav Kosov is one of four prospects the Florida Panthers have who are currently playing in Europe. (courtesy of Derek Leung/Getty Images)
Although a couple of the Florida Panthers prospects have moved on from the collegiate ranks and begun their professional careers, the organization still has several valuable players in the NCAA and in Europe, including a Hobey Baker finalist. At least two and perhaps as many as four or more players may have already played their final seasons in college. The prospects currently playing in Europe may be a thinner crop, but there are a couple of them who look ready to move to North America.
Photo: Now a rookie with the San Antonio Rampage of the AHL, forward Drew Shore experienced little difficulty transitioning to professional hockey. (Photo by Scott A. Schneider/Getty Images)
Not only has Florida Panthers General Manager Dale Tallon turned a perennially underachieving NHL club into a playoff contender in just over two years, but he built an enviable stable of prospects, many of whom are close to NHL ready.