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2011-2012 Florida Panthers Prospect Thread
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03-17-2011, 12:47 AM
Auston Matthews USA!
Join Date: Nov 2006
Great write up J17. This past draft certainly looks promising. MR, do you care to do a similar write up? I'd love to see your thoughts as well?
Do you two think it's fair to say this is the most promising draft after one year that this team has ever had? It looks that way to me.
Rounds 1 & 2
Gudbranson-He's progressed this season as we should have expected from a 3rd overall pick, but it's still exciting to see how he's presently coming along. Going back to junior was beyond a doubt the best thing for him, as J17 said. He's scoring at a 53 pt. pace pro-rated, his offensive game is where we hoped it would be at this point. He's developed a lot better accuracy on his slapshot and it is now a legitimate weapon. He's also improved his decision making when shooting which has also contributed to bumping his point total up. Of course, he's also a bruiser in his own end who's a shutdown specialist. His NHL career looks very promising at this point, with extremely low bust risk and a fairly high upside.
Bjugstad-He had a tough initial transition to the NCAA coming straight out of high school and then missing weeks with mono, but in the last two months he broke out in a big way. He forced Minny head coach Don Lucia to promote him to 1st line center and by the end of the season he was perhaps Minny's best skater. The encouraging thing is IMO he's still raw and he's only scratched the surface of his potential so far. He's still a bit awkward on his skates due to being 19 years old and 6'5", and that should improve over time. When he grows into his massive frame and gains even more strength, he could be a dominant force. He's evolving into a great all-around player under the guidance of Lucia and while it's hard to predict what exactly he'll become, the sky is the limit for him.
Howden-Doesn't play that fancy of a game but he consistently drives hard to the net, is an excellent skater, and has hands that have been constantly underrated but are now slowly gaining recognition. He plays hard and for keeps, and is great on the defensive side of the puck. He's had a great offensive season but could probably do to spend at least one more year in the WHL and dominate that league, and be a top 6 player at the WJC. There isn't a great need to rush him, patience will pay off tenfold with this kid. He looks like he could become a key piece of the future, and so great care must be taken with him, as it is with Bjugstad being allowed to develop at his own pace at Minnesota. He completes the trifecta of what looks like a terrific 2010 first round so far for the Panthers.
McFarland-He hasn't had the season Panthers fans hoped for and there's no doubt he has become more consistent, but he's the kind of guy who might break out any year because of his skill level, which is very high. The tragic, for lack of a better word, part of McFarland's game is he doesn't seem to know how to translate that skill into production. Most of his goals are highlight reel material but they are too few and far between. His assist totals also went down this year, although his goals went up. All in all, he's produced at a pace that is OK for a potential 2nd-3rd line tweener, but he leaves you wanting a lot more. One consolation is he has a decent defensive game and plays with an edge, which with his size and swift skating could make him a valuable 3rd liner. He clearly has a lot of work to do though and is not where the Panthers hoped he would be at this point for sure.
Petrovic-He has really becoming a premier puckmoving defenseman in the WHL and now one can say he's a legit puckmoving prospect instead of a defensive d-man with some offensive potential. He obviously remains a punishing physical force and steady prescence in his own end. He needs to improve his consistency in his own end, but he has shown flashes this season of being absolutely dominant. If he can improve on his defensive lapses and keep developing offensively, he could become not just a good but a great NHL defenseman. There's a lot of ifs but I believe the potential is there.
Brickley-A big ball of hate who doesn't know how not to play intensely. One of the positives of Brickley's game is you never have to worry about him not being up for games. He hits anything that moves and asks questions later. He's a very good skater who is fearless in traffic and is a good playmaker. The big negative about Brickley's game, for which he has gotten a bad rap dating back a couple years and has supposedly scared off coaches in international competition, is that he often goes too far over the edge. He has to learn to reign it in a little and learn to pick his spots, but hopefully that will happen as it appears he will spend a lengthy amount of time in college. He will have a few years to hone his game and round out his rough edges.
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