Florida Panthers Top 20 Prospects


The dog days of summer are finally here for hockey fans. All the excitement of the draft has finally evaporated and Free Agent Frenzy has passed. As of now, NHL teams are holding their prospect development camps to get an idea of how their new shiny toys stack up versus their other prospects.

October appears to be a light-year away. Fortunately for you, Frozen Futures has you covered. Each day we will be going over the Top 20 Prospects for a team in the NHL. From Arizona to Winnipeg, we have you covered.

The Florida Panthers were put in a difficult situation when former top prospect Zach Hyman decided he would not sign with the team. The Panthers wanted to get something for him, so they acquired Greg McKegg from the Toronto Maple Leafs for Hyman’s rights. McKegg makes an appearance in the top 20.

Like almost every other team, the Florida Panthers have a new face in the top slot for the team’s best prospect after the 2015 NHL Draft. It was deemed the deepest draft ever and has backed that up with the 1st rounders, or even second rounders, in the 1 or 2 rank for a team’s top prospect.

Lawson Crouse is that new #1 guy. Crouse slipped outside the top 10 to the Florida Panthers but fret not, he is still a future NHL All-Star. Crouse has size and skill, a combination is not easy to find in a player. Crouse is more advanced than others, but he still needs to mature before hitting the ice at the BB&T Center. He plays like a future star, but still makes some decisions that a junior player will make.

2012 first round pick Mike Matheson continues to impress with his skating and movement which lands him at the #2 spot. Matheson led Boston College as captain this past season and finish with 3 goals and 22 assists in 38 games. Dave Tallon told the Miami Herald he believes Mike Matheson will be “doing for the Panthers down the line what Norris Trophy and Conn Smythe Award winner Duncan Keith does for Chicago.” More work on his defensive decision making, and he’ll be ready for the NHL.

#3 prospect Rocco Grimaldi made a big splash with the San Antonio Rampage last year scoring 14 goals and 28 assists in 64 games. Grimaldi also spent 7 games in the NHL with the Panthers and scored his first career NHL goal. He will look to play a bigger role in the upcoming season.

Another 2015 Draft pick makes his way onto the board in Denis Malgin. Malgin went almost unnoticed until the World Juniors, where he played for Switzerland. There he made a name for himself by impressing many with his puck control and composure. The Panthers selected him in the 4th round and could be a potential sleeper. He is a bit older at 18 and a bit more mature.

Rounding out the top 5 is 2014 2nd rounder, Jayce Hawryluk. Hawryluk posted a consistent 30 goal season with the Brandon Wheat Kings of the WHL. He has progressed greatly over the past three seasons in the WHL. Hawryluk will be THE man to watch this upcoming season. If he can post numbers that are a little bit better than the season before like he has the past three years, he could be a future goal scorer for the Panthers.

Kyle Rau will look to take his very good NCAA seasons to the AHL. Rau had 4 point-per-game seasons with the University of Minnesota. The #10 Florida Panthers prospect could be in the top 5 next season if he has a good year with the Portland Pirates.

The Panthers have a couple of prospects that are running out of time to prove themselves after they have graduated from their junior or college teams. Players like Alex Petrovic have spent multiple seasons with the Panthers AHL affiliate or with the NHL club but have not played the way the have been expected to play since being drafted. Those will players they will need to push out by drafting carefully in every round in future drafts.

Questions? Comment or contact me on Twitter @MarkoFznFutures

Come back to Frozen Futures for Top 20 Prospects for the Edmonton Oilers.

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