[The potential for a league lockout/strike in 2012-13] sits in the back of your head. Obviously, it's speculation on what's going to happen with the NHL season. You don't really know what's going to happen. The AHL is a really good league as well. ... There's going to be some changes money-wise and all that. I just felt like for my future I can develop here and really gain my confidence and become a better player.
[Goaltender Michael] Houser, 19, was in Coral Springs, Fla., for the Panthers’ summer development camp July 2 to July 6. He is currently declining media requests as his agent, Paul Capizzano of MFIVE Sports, continues to work out contractual details with Florida management.
After NHLers Jose Theodore, Scott Clemmensen, and Jacob Markstrom, the Panthers goaltending depth chart is thin, which will help Houser turn pro immediately, [London Knights goalie coach Bill] Dark says.
It’s up to him [to leave school and go pro]. Whatever he decides to do. If he wants to turn pro and fight for a roster spot, we’ll go forward. If he wants to go back to school then we’ll let him do that. We never tell kids to play in junior or to leave school. Let the kids do what they want to do. They’ll tell you when they are ready.
Florida Panthers @FlaPanthers
RED ALERT: #FlaPanthers have agreed to a one-year, two-way contract with RW Jon Rheault - @jwrheault - http://ow.ly/bWIlO #NHLTrades
Rheault scored 16G/17A through 47 games for the Abbottsford Heat.
My Dad always had a rule, by a certain date in the spring, the hockey equipment was always put in the garage and didn’t move till tryouts next year. That obviously was when we were younger. Now we can’t do that.
The big knock on [Bjugstad] before last season was his skating. Now at 6'4 with the hands and hockey IQ he possesses, nobody's expecting him to be Pavel Bure out there, but his skating needed to improve. And that's what he did last offseason. The result was an explosive first step and an ability to better gain separation and speed on his first couple of strides. That, with the combination of off-season conditioning and a year of maturity, led to the explosion we saw as a sophomore.
The Panthers organization [is what's ahead for the Rampage]. The young talent that's on the horizon, the veterans that care. I couldn't be more proud as a coach with these guys all year.
Gophers sophomore center Nick Bjugstad, who led the team with 25 goals this past season, will wait until mid-May when the semester ends before he makes a decision on returning or not. A source close to Bjugstad said he remains undecided on what he will do, leaning one way one day, the other way the next day, so he is giving himself more time to be sure.
The Florida Panthers, who took him in the first round of the 2010 NHL draft, have told him the decision is his.
I got to go down to Florida and their whole staff got to see what I was like to play. Basically, the first thing I had to change was my first three steps. I'm a bigger guy. I just needed to be a little quicker in that aspect. I've improved that. Our weight trainer has done a good job and has us in the weight room all the time in the summer.
Like all the standouts competing in the WCHA finals, Drew Shore will face a difficult decision following the season, as the 2009 second round selection of the Florida Panthers mulls his future. With [brother] Quentin due to join the Pioneers, Drew's biggest lure back to DU might be the family legacy. Nick Shore says a day does not go by in which he doesn't implore his older brother about how special it would be to have three Shore brothers donning DU's crimson and gold.