BUFFALO NY - DECEMBER 30: Nick Bjugstad #27 of the United States skates ahead of Benjamin Hufner #5 of Germany during the 2011 IIHF World U20 Championship game between United States and Germany at the HSBC Arena on December 30 2010 in Buffalo New York. (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
Dale Tallon's blueprint includes a significant contribution from the stable of young prospects he built in the 2010 NHL Draft. Of his thirteen picks in the 2010 draft, eight of them were forwards, including three forwards taken between picks nineteen and thirty-three. With only nineteen forward prospects in the organization, that group will form the core of whatever long-term plan is on Tallon's mind.
Though the WJC-eligible prospects struggled in Buffalo, there is still a wealth of talent in the organization and according to Hockeysfuture.com, Florida's system ranks fourth overall in the NHL. Some of those prospects have already demonstrated NHL ability and others, like Keaton Ellerby and Evgeny Dadonov have already become NHL regulars.
*Stats as of 1/31/11
- Defender R.J. Boyd has left Sacred Heart University to go to the USHL's Chicago Steel. There has been no public explanation as to why. Our November interview can be found here.
- Alexander Salak is the best goalie in the Swedish Elite League right now, leading the league in save percentage at .926. The Panthers loaned Salak to Farjestads BK Karlstad for the 2010-2011 season. The numbers he's posting there make him one of the top properties in Florida's system.
- Michal Repik has become quite the playmaker in the AHL. His 32 assists are fourth in the league.
- Alex Petrovic is in the midst of an outstanding season for the Red Deer Rebels. The 2010 second round pick is thirteenth in the WHL in assists, leading all defensemen and is the fourth-leading scoring defensemen in the leagu.
- John McFarland has struggled to find his game since being traded to the Saginaw Spirit, but Saginaw is in first place in the OHL's West Division and McFarland seems poised to enjoy a long playoff run this spring.
- Nick Bjugstad has yet to find his scoring touch for the University of Minnesota, but that's not uncommon for 18-year-olds playing in the NCAA. Even though Bjugstad is a large kid, he's regularly playing against grown men in the 22 and 23-year-old range.