What to Watch for in Panthers Development Camp

(Spencer Knight’s face on Jon Snow’s Body/Photoshopped by me)

The wait is finally over, we’re less than a month away from Panthers hockey! Yesterday, the team announced their roster for the 2021 Development Camp and Prospect Showcase. While Barkov and Huberdeau won’t be taking the ice, there are quite a few names that Panthers fans should be interested in.

With COVID cancelling last years camp, these prospects are ready to make a name for themselves as they battle for roster spots on both the NHL and AHL teams. Let’s take a look at the roster below:

Forwards:

  • Eric Alarie
  • Karch Bachman
  • Henry Bowlby
  • Grigori Denisenko
  • Logan Hutsko
  • Anton Lundell
  • Justin Nachbaur
  • Serron Noel
  • Simon Pinard
  • Cole Schwindt
  • Justin Sourdif
  • Connor Trenholm
  • Trevor Wong

Panthers Forwards Notes:

Here, two names immediately stand out, Lundell and Denisenko. Denisenko spent most of last season on the team’s Taxi Squad, earning the opportunity to practice regularly with the main roster, while Lundell played his final season in the Finnish Liiga for HIFK.

While Lundell figures to slot in as a bottom six center, Denisenko’s role remains unclear. There is a ton of forward depth ahead of him on the main roster, which may keep him as a healthy scratch or a guy who will go back and forth between the Checkers and Panthers.

Other guys of note: Henry Bowlby, Serron Noel, Cole Schwindt, and Justin Sourdif. All of them featured in the AHL and WHL last year, and figure to be the main pieces on the Panthers and Kraken AHL team this season.

The only name that’s missing here which is surprising is Aleksi Heponiemi. Like Denisenko, he spent the season on the Taxi Squad, and would figure to be someone who could use some more practice at the NHL level under his belt. Personally, I don’t think it’s that big of a deal that Hepo won’t be out there, but it was something that piqued my interest.

Defensemen:

  • Frédéric Brunet
  • Robert Calisti
  • Max Gildon
  • Braden Haché
  • Matt Kiersted
  • Jacob LeGuerrier
  • John Ludvig
  • Evan Nause

Panthers Defensemen Notes:

The big name here is Matt Kiersted, who the Panthers signed out of North Dakota after their season ended, featured in a few games for the Cats. Kiersted was a sneaky roster move made by Zito last season which could pay dividends in the future. With Yandle now gone (can I get an amen), Kiersted could replace him as that offensive minded defensemen the team likes to have on the power play. Ultimately though, I expect Kiersted to float between the AHL and NHL next season just because of the defensemen ahead of him.

Other guys of note: Max Gildon, John Ludvig, and Evan Nause. Gildon and Ludvig both featured in the AHL last season, while Nause was the Panthers 2nd round pick in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft in July.

Goalies:

  • Oliver Adam
  • Tye Austin
  • Spencer Knight

Panthers Goalie Notes:

I mean do I even have to say it? The big name here is Spencer Knight. Knight looks to build off his impressive rookie season by coming into camp as the assumed #2 goalie, with his sights set on the starter’s net.

I’m excited to see how he develops over the next year, especially with a full offseason under his belt. I expect him and Bob to have a similar rotation as Bob and Chris had last year, but if Knight starts outplaying Bob things will get very interesting.

Also in case you were wondering why Spencer’s face is on Jon Snow’s body, it’s because we’re now under Knight’s Watch (Game of Thrones deserved a better ending, but thats a discussion for another day)

We’ll close this off with a Devon Levi appreciation paragraph. Levi did not ask to be sent to Buffalo (I mean, who would), but without his sacrifice we would not have the great Samsun Reinhart, and for that we are thankful. I hope that Levi gets the opportunity to shine in Buffalo and then immediately leave for greener pastures once his contract is up, because he deserves it.

Until next time, we move 🤝

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