Sunday was the beginning of football season, as well as a remembrance of the events of September 11th, and for Panthers fans, it was the kickoff of rookie tournament day. On display were some of the best and brightest young talent Florida has in its system, plus a group of guys the Tampa Bay Lighting decided to invite. The first goal come from Scott Timmins. Cory Conacher answered back for the Lighting in the second period, but the Panthers would score two more goals, both on special teams, from Jonathan Huberdeau (powerplay) and John McFarland (shorthanded). Ondrej Palat nailed a "luck goal" to end the period, 3-2. Corey Durocher scored the final marker, and the Panthers took game one. My thoughts on several of the players in tonight's game after the jump...
- Erik Gudbranson: Looked like a beast out there. He didn't let any forwards get near the net, landed some nice big hits, and got into a fight with Carter Ashton at the end of the game, which got the fans going.
- Quinton Howden: Still a fast skater, but had a quiet night. Used his speed really well, and got some good scoring chances.
- Jonathan Huberdeau: Had a nice game. He scored a powerplay goal, and had some nice setups that were close to being goals. I don't think he's ready for NHL action yet, but he's on his way.
- David Pacan: Remember him? He was one of the players the Panthers got in the infamous Michael Frolik trade. I see why Tallon wanted him, he was physical and did pretty well in the face-off circle. His speed impressed me too.
- Alexander Petrovic: Not a good night for him. He gets a big minus for his play on the first goal against, and didn't see the physical defensemen that he's advertised to be.
- Justin Vaive: Didn't play bad at all for a guy many observers don't know about. He's pretty huge and wasn't afraid to show it off. While I don't think he'll challenge for a roster spot, I'll be keeping an eye on him.
More from the Bolts' side of the state at Raw Charge here.