TSP: Florida Panthers Prospects

Owen Tippett Florida Panthers Prospects
LONDON, ON - MARCH 09: Owen Tippett #47 of the Saginaw Spirit skates with the puck in the first period during OHL game action against the London Knights at Budweiser Gardens on March 9, 2019 in London, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

Welcome to the 2019 Top Shelf Prospects series. As we go through the Summer of 2019 LWOH will be featuring a team-by-team look at the top prospects in the NHL. We will be following the order of the first round of the NHL draft (as if there were no traded draft picks) and you can find all the articles here.  Since we had an extensive NHL Draft preview, we will not be reviewing the players who were drafted in the 2019 draft, as there have been no games since then, and our reports on them will not have changed. Today we look at the Florida Panthers Prospects.

What we will be doing is linking you to those articles, as well as taking a look at prospects that were acquired before this year’s draft; their progress, and their chances of making the 2019-20 roster of the NHL team in question. We will also bring you one sleeper pick – a player who was either drafted in the 4th-round or later, or was an undrafted free agent signing who we pick as our dark horse to make the NHL. For those wondering, the cut-off for what is or isn’t a prospect is typically about 50 NHL games played (including playoff games) or is 25 years old. These are not hard or fast rules though, and we may make some exceptions depending on the circumstances.

Florida Panthers Prospects

After a blistering end to the 2017-18 season and just barely missing the playoffs, the Florida Panthers were a trendy pick to make the playoffs in 2019. However, an early-season injury to Roberto Luongo was a sign of what would ultimately lead to the Panthers 2019 downfall. Quite simply, they could not get a save when they needed it. James Reimer finished the season with a .900 save percentage while Luongo was at .899. Other issues included Vincent Trocheck missing 27 games with injuries, Nick Bjustad underperforming, and a lack of depth on defence but the main problem was in goal.

The Panthers made changes in the off-season, including the hiring of Joel Quenneville as head coach. The biggest move comes in goal though as both Reimer and Luongo are gone. In their place is two-time Vezina Trophy winner Sergei Bobrovsky. The defence was also improved with the addition of Anton Stralman. Forward depth was added with Brett Connolly and Noel Acciari. Overall the Panthers have done a good job of improving on weaknesses and now look to their prospect group to find other contributors going forward.

2019 NHL Draft (Grade B): Spencer KnightVladislav KolyachonokJohn LudvigCole SchwindtCarter BergerHenrik RybinskiOwen LindmarkGreg MeirelesMatthew Wedman,
Graduations: Henrik Borgstrom, Ian McCoshen, Josh Brown (age),

 

Top Prospect: Owen Tippett

Right Wing — shoots Right
Born February 16th, 1999 — Peterborough, Ontario
Height 6’1″ — Weight 216 lbs [185 cm / 98 kg]
Drafted by the Florida Panthers in the 1st round, #10 overall, at the 2017 NHL Draft

Tippett was traded from Mississauga to Saginaw at the OHL trade deadline. Overall he put up 33 goals and 41 assists for 74 points in 54 games last season. Tippett also added 11 goals and 11 assists for 22 points in just 17 playoff games. He also played for Team Canada at the World Juniors, with two goals and four points in five games.

Skating

Tippett is a very good skater. He has excellent speed and acceleration. His ability to change speeds allows him to take defenders wide and drive to the front of the net, where he has the soft hands to finish in tight. If there is one criticism though it is about his first step quickness. When starting from a stopped position, he could be a little quicker. Once he gets moving, he is an excellent skater, but those first few steps are still a bit choppy and hold him back a little.

He also has the agility and edgework necessary to make a wide variety of moves, and quick cuts that make him extremely tough to defend. Tippett also has good balance, and the lower body strength and power to fight through an opponent’s checks. He wins his battles on the boards and is tough to move in front of the net. He has gotten even stronger in recent years and looks ready to make the jump to the pro game.

Offensive Game

Tippett is extremely dangerous off the rush. If defenders back off to respect his speed, he can use his excellent wrist shot or snapshot and beat goalies with a quick release. Tippett’s shot is amongst the very best in the OHL. He is a pure sniper who is dangerous anytime he finds open space to get a shot off. He also shows the ability to find soft spots in the defensive zone, and get open to let off a one-timer. Tippett also has excellent hand-eye coordination and can tip in shots from the point. He is not afraid to battle down low and fight for that space in front of the opposition’s net.

Tippett improved his playmaking skills during his junior career. He has learned how to control the puck with his stickhandling, slow things down and wait for a teammate to get open. His quick stickhandling also allows him to open up passing lanes with a quick change of the puck angle. He has also improved his puck protection and work down low in the cycle game. Tippett is good at fighting off defenders and creating time for teammates to get open in the cycle. This has improved his assists and point totals in the OHL.

Defensive Game

Tippett’s defensive game is a work in progress but has gotten better over his junior career. He shows commitment to bringing back-pressure and supporting defenders but has not always shown good reads and hockey sense. His instincts and anticipation continue to show improvement though.

Outlook

Tippett heads to training camp looking to earn a spot in the Panthers lineup. Added depth with Connolly and Acciari won’t help his chances. That said if he can beat out Jayce Hawryluk and Dennis Malgin there could be room in the Panthers top-nine for a player with his offensive potential. Even if he ends up in Springfield, expect Tippett to be called up if the Panthers have injuries.

 

#2 Prospect: Spencer Knight

The Panthers drafted Knight with the 12th overall pick in this year’s NHL draft. Prior to the draft, we took a look at Knight. As no games have been played since that report; we will not repeat it. You can check out the report here.

 

#3 Prospect Aleksi Heponiemi

Right Wing/Centre — shoots Left
Born January 9th, 1999 — Tampere, Finland
Height 5’10” — Weight 154 lbs [178 cm / 70 kg]
Drafted by the Florida Panthers in the 2nd round, #40 overall, at the 2017 NHL Draft

Heponiemi had a huge season in the Finnish SM-Liiga. He scored 16 goals and 30 assists for 46 points in 50 games. It was the most points and assists by a rookie in the league. Things didn’t go quite as well in the playoffs though as he was limited to just three goals in 17 games. Karpat would lose in the final. Heponiemi also put up seven points in 10 games in the Champions Hockey League. He played for Finland at the World Juniors with three goals and nine points in seven games, winning a gold medal.

Skating

Undersized at just 5’10”, and weighing just 154 pounds, Heponiemi certainly faces some issues with his size. When one looks at the players who have overcome being undersized to really excel in the NHL, they have one thing in common, and that is fantastic skating ability. Heponiemi certainly meets that criteria.

He is very fast, with an excellent first step and acceleration. Defenders must respect Heponiemi’s speed, as he can beat them to the outside, and cut back to the net. He changes speeds very well, which can fool a defender or catch them flat-footed. He is also very elusive in one-on-one situations. Heponiemi has very good agility and edgework and is able to get past defenders with quick turns and cuts. He is also able to use these skills to make quick movements to change angles, and open up passing lanes. Heponiemi needs to get stronger though, as this would help his balance, and his ability to win battles on the boards.

Offensive Game

Heponiemi has outstanding hands. He can make dekes in a phone booth and is extremely dangerous one-on-one as a result. Heponiemi sees plays developing, and makes smart passes. He is an excellent playmaker, who can make tape-to-tape passes through tight openings. He also uses his stickhandling and skating to extend plays, waiting for a teammate to get open. Heponiemi has an accurate wrist shot, with a good release. He has worked on using it more this past year and that has made him harder to predict and more dynamic as a result.

Heponiemi is better in the cycle game than one would expect based on his size. Of course, there is room to improve by bulking up. However, he is able to control and protect the puck by having good hockey IQ. He uses his smarts and angles to avoid being hit.  When he does get hit, its rarely a clean shot. He is able to roll off of checks and keep control of the puck.

Defensive Game

Heponiemi works hard in his own zone and tries to backcheck, but his size can cause issues. He is overpowered in battles for loose pucks. He also has issues in containing bigger, stronger forwards around the cycle game. His positioning is generally pretty good, but like many youngsters can still use some refinement.

Outlook

Heponiemi can play both the wing and at centre but his future is likely on the wing. He has signed with the Panthers and will look to make the team out of training camp. There is still room for further development and it would not be surprising to see him in the AHL for a year. He has shown that he can produce against men and will look to do that in North America. Expect him to be an injury call-up and challenge for an NHL role in 2020.

 

#4 Prospect: Grigori Denisenko

Left Wing — shoots Right
Born June 24th, 2000 — Novosibirsk, Russia
Height 5’11” — Weight 176 lbs [181 cm/80 kg]
Drafted by the Florida Panthers in the 1st Round, 15th Overall in the 2018 NHL Draft

Denisenko moved up to a near full-time role in the KHL last season, but had limited ice time and put up four goals and six points in 25 games. He also added three assists in six playoff games. He also played four regular-season games in the MHL, putting up three points. In 13 MHL playoff games, he scored six goals and two assists for eight points. He helped Loko Yaroslavl to the MHL Championship. Denisenko also played for Russia at the World Juniors, winning a bronze medal. With four goals and nine points in seven games, he led the tournament in scoring and was part of the tournament all-star team.

Skating

Denisenko is an excellent skater. He has a smooth stride that leads to quick acceleration and very good top-end speed. His quick feet lead to very good agility and edgework. This makes him tough for defensemen to handle on the rush. He can beat them to the outside and cut to the net, or make a quick move and weave through traffic. Denisenko can get a bit stronger on his skates though. This would lead to better balance, and make him harder on the puck in the cycle, and better in battles along the boards. It is more evident when he faces men in the KHL then when he is playing at the junior level.

Offensive Game

Denisenko is extremely dangerous off the rush. As noted, he is an excellent skater. He pairs that skating ability with the hands to make plays while moving at top speed. His soft hands and excellent stickhandling ability gives him a number of quick dekes and feints that can beat a defender one-on-one. If defenders give him too much space, it opens up passing and shooting lanes and Denisenko is skilled enough to take advantage of the situation. He has outstanding vision and passing skills. He can make a perfect tape-to-tape pass to a teammate. Denisenko has the stickhandling ability and the intelligence to slow down the play and wait for the perfect time to make that pass to his teammate.

Denisenko’s snapshot and wrist shot are very accurate. They also feature a quick release. However, he could stand to add more upper body muscle and this would lead to more power on his shot. He has the soft hands to finish in tight to the net. He is not the type of player to find himself in front of the net without the puck, as one criticism is that his game is played a bit too much on the perimeter at this point.

Defensive Game

Denisenko’s defensive game is a work in progress. He does not get himself involved with the backcheck, often cheating up the ice and hoping for a turnover and offensive chance the other way. He is not much of a physical player. When he does come back, Denisenko also has a bad habit of puck watching and not keeping his feet moving. This allows the defenceman he is supposed to be covering to find open ice and set up for a point shot. Overall there will need to be some real improvements at the defensive end, or he will drive his coaches nuts.

Outlook

Denisenko is under KHL contract through the end of next season. This means he heads back to Lokomotiv Yaroslavl looking for more ice time and offensive production. He should also be a key player for Russia at the World Juniors again. The Panthers will look to sign him prior to the 2020-21 season and bring him to North America.

 

#5 Prospect: Vladislav Kolyachonok

The Panthers drafted Kolyachonock with the 52nd overall pick in this year’s NHL draft. Prior to the draft, we took a look at Kolyachonock. As no games have been played since that report; we will not repeat it. You can check out the report here.

 

#6 Prospect: Serron Noel

Right Wing — shoots Right
Born August 8th, 2000 — Guelph, Ontario
Height 6’5″ — Weight 216 lbs [196 cm / 98 kg]
Drafted by the Florida Panthers in the 2nd Round, #34 Overall at the 2018 NHL Draft

Noel had a breakout season putting up 34 goals and 81 points in 68 games for the Oshawa Generals. It was an increase of 28 points over his draft year. He also added four goals and 11 points in 14 playoff games.

Skating

As a big man, Noel has been heavily criticized for his skating. He struggled during his rookie season in 2016-17, as he seemed to be a step behind the play. While his skating is still a work in progress, it has vastly improved over the last two seasons. Noel generates very good speed for a big man and has really improved his first few steps and acceleration. While his stride looks awkward, it gets him where he needs to go. If he gets a step on his man, he can really bear down and pull away from the defender. He has a powerful lower-body, giving him excellent balance. Noel can fight through checks and get to the front of the net. He is also extremely strong on the puck and controls down low on the cycle. Noel rarely loses board battles. However, Noel has issues with his agility and edgework. He could work on being more fluid in his turns and quick stops and changes of direction.

Offensive Game

Noel projects as a goal scorer. He has a very hard wrist shot, as he generates excellent power. His accuracy is good, and he features a quick release. His snapshot is also a weapon. Noel uses his size to get to the front of the net. His quick hands help him finish in tight, with tip-ins, scoring rebounds, or making quick moves to beat a goalie in tight. Further out, he needs some work on his one-timer. He also needs to be more consistent in finding opportunities to get his shot off. So much of the NHL game is generating shots, and Noel can sometimes leave one waiting for him to shoot more.

Noel creates offence through his size and strength. He is very good on the forecheck, pressuring defenders and forcing them to make poor decisions. As mentioned Noel is very strong on the boards and in protecting the puck in the cycle. He moves the puck smartly and keeps his head up to find the open man. Noel has worked on his stickhandling and on creating passing lanes. This has helped him to be more of a playmaker and to greatly increase his assist totals this season.

Defensive Game

Noel uses his size effectively in the defensive zone. He anticipates plays well and gets his long stick into passing lanes. Noel has been an effective penalty killer for the Generals. He creates turnovers and transitions quickly to offence. Despite his size, Noel is not known as a big hitter. As mentioned he battles hard in front of the net, and he works well on the boards, but he is not one to use his frame to throw big checks.

Outlook

While there are still some issues to work on in terms of skating, Noel took some big strides this season. He will need to increase his upper-body strength as well in order to play his style of game at the pro level. For now, Noel is likely to return to Oshawa and is at least two or three years away from making an NHL impact. It can take big players a bit longer to develop, but if Noel develops the sky is the limit as far as his impact as a power forward.

 

#7 Prospect: Maxwell Gildon

Defence — shoots Left
Born May 17th, 1999 — Plano, Texas
Height 6’3″ — Weight 192 lbs [191 cm / 87 kg]
Drafted by the Florida Panthers in the 3rd round, #66 overall, at the 2017 NHL Draft

Gildon followed up on his strong freshman season with a good sophomore campaign at the University of New Hampshire. He scored six goals and 15 assists for 21 points in 31 games.

Skating

Gildon’s start-up and stride look a bit awkward, however, it does not seem to slow him down at all. While he is not a speedster, he has decent top-end speed as well as good acceleration. Gildon skates well in both directions. He can join the rush, as well as pinch in at the blue line but must pick his spots to avoid getting caught. Gildon also has decent edgework and agility given his height. He needs to fill out a bit, and improve his lower body strength to be stronger on the puck, and win battles on the boards.

Offensive Game

Gildon has a good array of shots. His slap shot and one-timer are very heavy, and he can use them to be a real threat from the point. However, he could stand to improve its accuracy. His wrist shot and snapshots are also dangerous. They feature a quick release and are more accurate than his slap shot. He mainly uses wrist and snapshots when he is a trailer on the rush, or when he pinches in from the blue line. Gildon has good instincts on when to slide down looking for a pass.

Gildon is also a good passer. He can start plays with a strong first pass from his own end. He is also decent in controlling the puck at the blue line and finding open seams to get it to a teammate. Gildon is not the classic power-play quarterback, but can still make some plays from the line. He also has the stickhandling skill to skate the puck out of danger and start the transition game.

Defensive Game

Gildon has the size and skill to play a physical game in his own end. Forwards need to have their heads up when they head down his end of the ice. He is also good in the corners, throwing his weight around, and working to clear the front of the net. Gildon needs to add muscle to his frame, in order to play this style at the pro level. He also has to be more consistent in using that physicality. Gildon has good instincts and positioning. He uses his stick to break up passing and shooting lanes, as well as to poke the puck away from opponents. Once a turnover is created, he quickly transitions to offence.

Outlook

Gildon appears to be headed back to the University of New Hampshire this fall. He should play a huge role and get plenty of ice time in his junior season. Once his college season is done, the Panthers will likely try to sign him. He needs to fill out his frame and continue to round out his game before he is NHL ready.

 

#8 Prospect: Dryden Hunt

Left Wing — shoots Left
Born November 24th, 1995 — Cranbrook, British Columbia
Height 6’0″ — Weight 191 lbs [183 cm / 87 kg]
Signed with the Florida Panthers in March 2016

Hunt continued to put up strong offensive numbers in the AHL with 23 goals and 44 points in 51 games with Springfield. He also got in plenty of time with the Panthers, playing 31 games and scoring three goals and 10 points.

Skating

Hunt’s skating continues to improve. His first step and acceleration have moved from poor to now being above average. He has also developed decent speed. While Hunt will never be confused for a speedster, he is capable of keeping up with the play and does not look out of place with his skating at the NHL level. His agility and edgework are also decent and allow him to get around defenders with changes of direction and quick cuts. Hunt has improved his leg strength, allowing him to fight for position in front of the net and win battles on the boards.

Offensive Game

Hunt is a sniper. He has a very good wrist shot and an excellent release. He can also score at the AHL level with an effective snapshot and even a good backhand. That hasn’t quite translated to big goal-scoring numbers in the NHL yet. Hunt has to do a bit more to get open without the puck and get himself into positions to get that shot off. He has done this well in junior and the AHL but needs to be able to do it at the NHL level now. Hunt is willing to get to the front of the night and fights for position when there.

Hunt has decent vision and passing skills. He protects the puck well down low and makes the smart pass in the cycle game. He does a good job of keeping possession and moving the puck. However, Hunt is not one to make creative passes through tight areas. Most of his assists come from keeping the puck moving in the cycle, or from getting it to the front of the net. He is willing to get in on the forecheck and force defenders into turnovers and other mistakes. He also wins his battles on the boards.

Defensive Game

Hunt is a decent defensive player but nothing to write home about. He works hard to come back and support the defence. He also uses an active stick to cut down passing lanes and force opponents to the outside. Hunt is decent at fighting for the puck along the boards in his own end. He can still get a bit better at reading the play and positioning himself away from the puck though.

Outlook

Hunt will head to training camp looking for a full-time role with the Panthers, though with all the good young forwards the competition continues to get tougher. He can be a first-line player at the AHL level and produces plenty of offence. Questions remain about how much of that offence will translate at the NHL level though. The time is now for Hunt to prove he is capable of producing for the Panthers.

 

#9 Prospect: Jayce Hawryluk

Right Wing/Left Wing — shoots Right
Born January 1st, 1996 — Roblin, MAN
Height 5’10” — Weight 194 lbs [178 cm / 88 kg]
Drafted by the Florida Panthers in the 2nd round, #32 overall at the 2014 NHL Draft

Hawryluk broke out offensively in his third AHL season with Springfield. He put up eight goals and 32 points in 31 games. He earned himself a good run with the Panthers, putting up seven goals and 12 points in 42 games.

Skating

As an undersized forward Hawryluk needs strong skating to succeed at the next level, and checks some of those boxes. Hawryluk has good speed and very good acceleration, which complements his strong edge work and agility. However that lack of size is an issue. He has decent core strength and balance, but he can still be muscled off the puck by bigger defenders. While he isn’t afraid to forecheck hard, get involved in board battles, try to fight through checks and go to the net or battle for pucks in the corners he can get pushed around a bit.

Offensive Game

Hawryluk has good hockey sense. At the AHL level, he uses strong stickhandling and poise with the puck to slow the game down. He makes the smart play with the puck. He has good vision and passing skills, making his linemates better. Hawryluk is able to find openings in the defence when he doesn’t have the puck, setting himself up as an outlet in the cycle or for a one-timer. His wrist shot is accurate, and the release is decent but it lacks powers.

Hawryluk tries not to allow his size to be a factor in his game, playing with grit despite that. He gets himself into the middle of battles and scrums. Hawryluk is always at the centre of the action. However, that lack of size and strength has still been a factor as he can be pushed around at times. With a summer off and now seeing what is necessary at the NHL level, it is hoped that Hawryluk will pack on even more muscle to his frame without losing his speed. If he can be a bit stronger and not pushed around as much he would be more effective.

Defensive Game

Hawryluk is developed defensively. He has extremely good positioning, and is able to anticipate plays and create turnovers in his own end. He is also a relentless back checker who just never stops moving his feet. Hawryluk supports his defence well and is able to kill penalties in the AHL. He could start bringing that in the NHL this season.

Outlook

With a number of good young forwards on the Panthers and coming through the system, Hawryluk will need to fight to stay with the big club. He may never become a full-time top-six forward, but there is still hope he can lock down a bottom-six job, help on the penalty kill, provide a bit of extra scoring and move up the lineup for short stints in case of injury. With his NHL experience, he will look to make the Panthers and earn more responsibility.

 

#10 Prospect: Samuel Montembault

Goalie — Shoots Left — Catches Left
Born October 30th, 1996 — Becancour, Quebec
Height 6’3″ — Weight 207 lbs [191 cm / 94 kg]
Drafted by the Florida Panthers in the 3rd round, #77 overall, at the 2015 NHL Draft

Montembeault played his second professional season, putting up a 3.24 goals-against-average and a 0.899 save percentage in 39 games for the Springfield Thunderbirds. He also got in 11 games for the Panthers, putting up a 3.05 goals-against-average and .894 save percentage.

Playing Style

At 6-foot-3, Montembeault has the size needed to be a top NHL goalie. He takes full advantage of his frame by playing well out in his crease. He cuts down angles and just does not give shooters a whole lot of net to shoot at. Montembault has quick legs and plays an effective butterfly style. He takes away the bottom portions of the net and also has decent rebound control for his age. Like most young goalies though, this is still an area that can improve.

Montembault gets side to side quickly and tracks the puck well. However, he can sometimes overslide, getting himself out of position. He can also get a bit better up top giving up some goals on his glove and blocker side. That and some minor improvements on closing down holes between his arm and body are areas he can work on.

Mental Make-Up

He also is calm and cool under pressure, not reacting badly to a goal against, traffic in his face, or a bad call from a ref. He needs to improve his consistency though. One is never quite sure which version of Montembault is going to show up on any given night. He played well, winning four in a row early in the year with the Panthers but then struggled afterwards. This is a common issue with young goalies though.

Outlook

It would appear that Montembeault will back-up Bobrovsky this year. However, the Panthers might be rushing him by bringing him up at just 22 (23 in October). He has not dominated yet at the AHL level, in fact, he’s struggled at times. It remains to be seen if spending a lot of time on the bench is the best bet for a young goalie. It would not be surprising if the Panthers opt to grab a backup goaltender in a trade or off waivers at the end of training camp and let Montembeault continue to play big minutes in Springfield.

 

Sleeper Prospect: Riley Stillman

Defence — shoots Left
Born March 9th, 1998 — Peterborough, Ontario
Height 6’1″ — Weight 199 lbs [185 cm / 90 kg]
Drafted by Florida Panthers in the 4th round, #114 overall, at the 2016 NHL Draft

In his first pro season, Stillman put up four goals and 13 assists for 17 points in 59 games in Springfield. He also showed his physical side and picked up 52 penalty minutes. Stillman even made his NHL debut, playing once for the Panthers.

Skating

Stillman is an extremely mobile defenceman, powered by his strong skating technique. He has good speed in both directions, coupled with a good first step and rapid acceleration. Stillman has excellent edgework and agility. He combines this with great gap control to be very hard to beat in one-on-one situations. He is able to get a lot of power out of his stride, which allows him to muscle through checks, but also gives him the ability to explode when changing directions, so he doesn’t lose much in terms of speed when he makes a quick cut.

Offensive Game

The offensive numbers may not have been great, but Stillman shows a lot of offensive tools. He made strides throughout his junior career and this was very evident in his offensive improvements. He uses strong stickhandling and combines it with his skating skill to move the puck up the ice efficiently and lead the rush. Stillman has the poise to walk the line on the power play and open up passing and shooting lanes.

He is a good passer, who can get the transition game started with a good first pass, as well as quarterback things from the point. Stillman has the vision to find openings, and the skill to feather the puck through tight spaces. Stillman also has a decent slap shot, and a heavy writer shot with an accurate release. He gets his shot on net, and through heavy traffic. Stillman also understands how to keep his shot low to generate more opportunities for his teammates to get deflections and rebounds. His hockey IQ is high.

Defensive Game

Stillman is difficult to beat one-on-one. Those who try can often find themselves flattened with a strong open-ice hit. He also has very good positioning and is willing to battle along the boards and in front of the net. Stillman understands how to cut down passing and shooting lanes and is a willing and able shot blocker. He struggled early in the year with the increased pace of AHL opponents but by the end of the season had really improved.

Outlook

Stillman had a strong rookie year in the AHL but could use another year in Springfield continuing to develop. He does a lot of things well and could be an NHL player down the line. The question is how high his ceiling is.  He may only leaves junior hockey and is headed to the pro game. He likely needs a year or two in the AHL, continuing to develop, before he is ready for the NHL. Expect Stillman to play in Springfield next season.

 

System Outlook

The Panthers have a strong group of forward prospects. In terms of depth up front Logan Hutsko, Jonathan Ang, Juho Lammikko, Cliff Pu, Patrick BajkovJustin Schutz, and Cole Schwindt remain players to watch. The overall system could use a real high-end defence prospect though. In terms of depth Brady Keeper, Thomas Schemitsch, Carter Berger, Tyler Inamoto, and John Ludvig are worth watching on the blue line. Goaltender Ryan Bednard has now finished his college career and should take over from Montembault in Springfield. They have also brought in Philippe Desrosiers.

 

Florida Panthers Prospects Main Photo:

Embed from Getty Images

LONDON, ON – MARCH 09: Owen Tippett #47 of the Saginaw Spirit skates with the puck in the first period during OHL game action against the London Knights at Budweiser Gardens on March 9, 2019, in London, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

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