Since the outpouring of offense against Colorado's notably poor defense, the Florida Panthers have gone frigid in the goal scoring department. With injuries to two-thirds of the first line keeping Barkov and Jagr in the audience, the team has struggled to score goals against better competition. The Cats managed only one goal per game against Boston and Washington, and were able to tally only 27 shots on net through overtime against the Caps. For those who look at things from an advanced stats point of view, allow me to translate: The Panthers are averaging one goal-per-game over their last two contests. The team now faces a western road trip where they will play the struggling, but talented Ducks, the red-hot Kings, and the very capable San Jose Sharks. With that in mind, the team has made some call-ups and adjustments.
Logan Shaw played one game with the Panthers, against Boston, where he logged 10:49 in ice time, and put up one shot to go along with 3 hits. Shaw acquitted himself capably, but was scratched the following night against Washington. Shaw has now been returned to Portland. It will be interesting to see how he plays upon his return to the AHL as he certainly did not look out of place in an energy line role at the NHL level.
#FlaPanthers recall Garrett Wilson, send back Logan Shaw— George Richards (@GeorgeRichards) November 2, 2015
On the way to South Florida from Portland is left winger Garrett Wilson. This is not Wilson's first big dance, as he had a two-game call up last season, and a three-game stint in 2013-14. Wilson will be a welcome addition on the western swing. He has good size, at 6'2", 199 lbs., and has shown excellent offensive upside, scoring 23 goals to go along with 15 assists in San Antonio last season. In 2013-14, he scored 14 goals and added 16 assists. Much of Wilson's offense comes from activity around the net, where he has a knack for hammering at rebounds and is tough for defenses to move. Wilson, MacKenzie, and Brickley form a very intriguing 4th line that loves to forecheck hard and get the puck to the net.
Wilson has played seven games with the Pirates this season and has posted 4 assists. His game is described by Hockey's Future this way:
Wilson plays a solid game with a balance of skill and grit. He is a rangy, two-way winger who has shown a willingness to drop the gloves when necessary. Wilson's skating speed is limited but he will dig the puck out of the corners, get to the front of the net to score the dirty goals, and leads through hard work and dedication.
For the time being, Wilson will join the team and possibly see 4th line time out west as a replacement for Shawn Thornton. George Richards of the Miami Herald reported that both Wilson and Grimaldi were skating as 4th members of the 3rd and 4th lines, so it appears that the team will take them in case Jagr is forced from the line-up again or in the event of another injury to a forward.
Also called up by the Cats on Halloween was Rocco Grimaldi. Rocco has posted 3 assists in 5 games for Portland, but went -4 in his last outing for the Pirates. Whether he was intended to be a healthy scratch by Portland Coach Tom Rowe, or was scratched due to his call-up is something we will likely never know, as Rocco was summoned to Sunrise that same day. Nonetheless, Grimaldi acquitted himself well in South Florida and saw 12:43 of ice-time against Washington. His one shot in the game was a fantastic scoring chance late in the third period, and he was seemingly rewarded for his speed and work ethic with ice time during the 3-on-3 overtime. Rocco was number nine on the LBC Top 25 under 25 list this summer, and those wanting more information on his skill set and back ground can find that article here.
Grimaldi had good chemistry with Dave Bolland, and the two of them were among the team's most effective forwards against the Caps. For now, our version of "Charlie Hustle" will get to remain with the Cats as they swing through his old backyard in Southern California.
With Jagr reportedly skating at practice again with the first line, it may be that our elder Superman is ready to re-enter the line-up. Until that is certain, welcome to Grimaldi and Wilson.