Panthers 2014 Development Camp: Recapping Day Four

Stickhandling drills in the zone during the forward portion of day four practices. - Shane O'Donnell

One day before final scrimmage, players work on position-specific drills.

A day removed from a bonding experience at the beach and community service projects, Florida's prospects returned to the ice for the final day of practice before Friday's scrimmage beginning at 9:00 a.m. Twitter Feed of today's action:

They split the forwards and defense up today, and worked on position specific drills. For the forwards, there was a lot of movement along the boards, and controlling the puck both in the zone and through the neutral zone.

Rocco Grimaldi was dominant today. In the 3 on 3 scrimmage, he picked apart the opposing players.  In the shootout, had a couple of nifty moves. Kid really is going to make the decision tough on management this year.

Aleksander Barkov was out; general manager Dale Tallon later noted "(Barkov) has nothing to prove here."  He's already been a dominant force in his short time at the NHL level, and is even more dominant against his peers.  I wouldn't be too concerned that he was absent today.  As for Jayce Hawryluk, the injury didn't appear serious, and per director of player development Brian McCabe, wasn't.  He was most likely taken off as a precautionary measure.

Not much else to add. Matheson seemed to be one of the best during the skating drills. According to McCabe, the biggest change he's witnessed is his strength.  Not just on the ice, but off it as well, as he has put in the effort to make himself more of a physical force.

Jonathan Racine looked good, and got a rave review from McCabe: "He’s got the heart of a lion, that kid. Nothing is going to hold him back. There is no off switch. He works all the time, tirelessly. He is a great teammate. He’ll do anything to get to this league. I am really excited for him. He’s making strides."

MacKenzie Weegar really looked terrific out there. McCabe notes that although Weegar isn't as big as the other blueliners, "he's got the skill level. He's as smart a player as we saw last year at the rookie camp, and he earned the invite to main camp last year on his instincts alone. He may not be the biggest guy, the fastest guy, but he thinks the game better than anyone out there. His ability to read plays and have gap control and control powerplays makes him a special guy."  Sounds like a steal from the seventh round. Hope he pans out to be that top four defenseman who can do wonders for a powerplay.

As for Michael Downing, he's sort of flown under the radar thus far, but he has moments where he really impresses. He exceeded expectations last year by jumping into the top four with the University of Michigan as a freshman, and appears he has the potential to challenge for a roster spot in the future.

Once more, scrimmage tomorrow at 9 from Coral Springs featuring "Team Red" vs. "Team Blue".  Should be a fun display of the organization's future. For those that can't attend, I will once again be updating via twitter (@shane1342o).  Hopefully, the buzz on the young guns this week hasn't just been buzz, and we'll see many of them in Panther jerseys during the next few seasons.

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