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NHL Prospect Report: Florida Panthers

Florida Panthers

From now until the start of next season, I’ll be looking at each NHL team’s prospect situation and assessing each prospect’s projected fantasy value. With all due respect to turnover leagues, I will be focusing solely on keeper and dynasty leagues, because prospects have minimal value in re-draft leagues. Most fantasy leagues vary in structure, so for the purpose of this exercise, I will be referring to leagues that include a main roster and a prospect roster, each with their own respective draft. Last week, we got a week of recess. 

This week we move up to the 22nd-placed Florida Panthers.

2016-17 Recap

Unfortunately, it was a year of poor execution plus injuries for Panthers fans. There were rumors about trades, and in the end, Florida missed the playoffs. They rearranged the chairs management wise. Also, the power play was brutal, and too many top players had off years.

Worse yet, most of the Panthers’ prospects have not seen the prime time just yet. That may change this year after some curious offseason moves. On the other hand, another season of development may pay off handsomely for some of their prospects. Fans of Florida need to hope for better fortune. Last season, the system hampered the Panthers again when there were injuries. Their core presents a unique dilemma. Let us start off with the highest potential and work our way down.

1. Owen Tippett, D

Age: 18  H/W: 6’2″/203 pounds.

Drafted: Round 1, Pick 10 in 2017 by Florida

2016-17 Team: Mississauga Steelheads (OHL)

60 GP, 44 G, 31 A, 75 Pts,+24, 36 PIM

Tippett was fun to watch for Mississauga last season. He is a young forward that should have been a top five or six pick in the draft. The Panthers hit big with the 10th pick in the 2017 draft. When teams were more physical with Tippett, he thrived by making them pay. It was encouraging to see him improve throughout the season. His 75 points in 60 games were far from a fluke.

He may start off in Florida for a nine-game run, but do not be surprised if he could stick with Florida. Training camp will be telling because that can be an avenue for Tippett to turn some heads. Also, he must improve his skating. There is upside, but Panthers fans must be patient. However, he has a little ways to go to get to NHL-caliber speed. His presence on the power play could be something to look forward to. The Florida franchise needs the young forward to flourish sooner rather than later.

2. Henrik Borgstrom, C

Age: 20  H/W: 6’3″/ 185 pounds.

Drafted: Round 1, Pick 23 in 2016 by Los Angeles

2016-17 Team: Denver University (NCAA)

37 GP, 22 G, 21 A, 43 Pts, +23, 16 PIM.

[the_ad id=”384″]Borgstrom was too good for Denver, but can he crack the AHL or even NHL? Overall, the forward had 43 points in 37 games for the university. Yes, he created his share of chances. On the other hand, some pundits say he may not have enough for the NHL just yet. What has to be different now?

The key will be for Borgstrom to score goals. His lower body is strong, but he still needs to put on some weight. Speed and power will be different as he moves up levels. Borgstrom will have to adjust to that. Also, he is cunning with the puck and can avoid hits. There is no denying that the center has play-making skills. His decision making is near an NHL level already. Let’s say he is a year or two away.

3. Adam Mascherin, LW/C

Age: 19  H/W: 5’9″/193 pounds.

Drafted: Round 2, Pick 38 in 2016 by Florida

2016-17 Team: Kitchener Rangers (OHL)

65 GP, 35 G, 65 A, 100 Pts, -2, 20 PIM

Mascherin was great for Kitchener in 2016-17. He had 100 points, and his special teams proficiency was noted. The competitive fire increased as well. Florida realizes he has talent, but again, do they have a spot? His prospect development is progressing nicely.

As he gains more experience, the Panthers forward may be able to turn some heads in training camp. Mascherin might be a year or two away. Honestly, defensive ability is still a bit of a question mark, but the Panthers need offense. They especially are desperate for power play help.

4. Samuel Montembeault, G

Age: 20   H/W: 6’3″/ 192 pounds.

Drafted: Round 3, Pick 77 in 2015 by Florida

2016-17 Team: Blainville-Boisbriand Armada (QMJHL)

41 GP, 2.40 GAA .907 save percentage

Montembeault has enjoyed a nice projection and the luxury of not being rushed in the Florida system. The Panthers prospect will likely play in their AHl affiliate (Springfield) for the 2017-18 season.

The goaltender’s best opportunity is a depth role. Montembeault must execute better at the next level. His playoff version is what Springfield must see and consistently at that. Too many times, the goalie fell into a trap of complacency. There is much potential still to be had. Lateral movement must be faster along with his kick out.

5. Jayce Hawryluk, C/RW

Age: 21  H/W: 5’11″/ 186 pounds.

Drafted: Round 2, Pick 32 in 2017 by Florida

2016-17 Team: Springfield Thunderbirds (AHL)

47 GP, 9 G, 17 A, 26 PTS, 47 PIM, +5

Hawryluk plays the game in a simple way. Injury was the only thing that slowed him down, and development will aid him this year. Most will argue that Springfield may see the center for only a year, maybe two. The second-round pick could easily make the jump to Florida next season. He has come along a little slowly, but nicely nonetheless.

That will be the key to the Panthers’ future development. Players like Hawryluk need to make the roster in depth roles to make up for the depth Florida has lost. Poor management decisions have left spots open at least. There is solace and hope in that. The center will need to put more pucks in the net this year for Springfield.


Prospect Grade: C+

Florida’s prospect situation is okay but improving, as the Panthers have some holes in their prospect ranks (especially in the depth roles and high-end defensemen). A few will even think the C+ grade is being too harsh. There are first-round prospects that could burst on the scene and Owen Tippett. Tippett will be vital in any retooling efforts for Florida going forward. Furthermore, understand that patience is needed when a team is trying to improve their prospect pool on the fly.

That does it for this week’s prospect report, but be sure to come back next week when we look at the Carolina Panthers. As always, feedback is appreciated, and I’d love to hear what changes you would all make to this list. Leave your thoughts in the comment section! Thanks for reading, and keep your stick on the ice!


All statistics taken from:

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