With the NHL currently dark until festivities start tomorrow for this year's All-Star weekend in Nashville, let's take a quick look at how the eight players the Florida Panthers selected at the 2015 Entry Draft in Sunrise back in June are doing.
Lawson Crouse (1/11)
Drafted 11th overall by the Cats after a 29-goal season for Kingston of the OHL, Crouse is currently in the midst of his third season with the greatly-improved Frontenacs. In 28 games played, "The Sheriff" has scored 12 goals and added 19 assists for 31 points. Five of his goals have come on the power play. He has racked 45 PIM to along with a +6 rating. Crouse played on Canada's disappointing WJC squad over the holidays and did just fine, putting up 5 points (2G/3A) in 5 games. Florida's most recent first-rounder did appear in three preseason tilts with the Panthers, posting one assist. Already signed to an entry-level deal, look for the big winger to contend for a roster spot on the big-league club next season.
Samuel Montembeault (3/77)
After two years with the QMJHL's Blainville-Boisbriand Armada, Montembeault was selected in third round (77th overall) by the Panthers. So far this season, Montembeault has made 29 appearances and complied an 11-11-4-1 record with a 2.61 GAA (third best among league starters) and a .895 save percentage. Like Crouse, the tall, lanky netminder was on Canada's WJC team. He dressed for the first two games of the tournament, but did not see any game action. If Montembeault returns to the "Q" next season, he will be in the mix to perhaps become Canada's starter.
Thomas Schemitsch (3/88)
A right-handed defenseman with good size, Schemitsch was the Cats second of two third round picks, taken 88th overall. The Thornhill, ON native put up some nice offensive numbers last season with 14 goals and 49 points, but will be hard-pressed to match them this time around. In 30 games with the Owen Sound Attack, Schemitsch has collected 5 goals and 11 assists to go along with a team-worst -17 rating.
Denis Malgin (4/102)
Pint-sized forward Denis Malgin is currently in his second season playing for the ZSC Lions of the Swiss National A League. Malgin put up 8 points (2G/6A) in 23 games for the Lions last year and in 33 games so far this season, has already eclipsed those totals with 5 goals and 8 assists. The speedster played for the Swiss entry at the WJC and led the team in scoring with 9 points (1G/8A) in 6 games, helping his country avoid the embarrassment of relegation. At some point, Malgin has to make the move to North America to continue his development, be it at the major junior or AHL level, if he wants to play in the NHL.
Karch Bachman (5/132)
Indiana-born Karch Bachman was selected by the Panthers in the fifth round of 2015 Entry Draft after scoring 19 goals and 24 assists in 32 games for Culver Military Academy. Prior to his senior season, the young American played for Team USA's bronze-winning squad at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament, scoring 4 points (3G/1A) in five games. Bachman opened the 2015-16 campaign with the Green Bay Gamblers before moving on to the Chicago Steel after five games. In 27 USHL games, he has bagged 9 goals and added 5 assists to go along with a -4 rating. The port side prospect has already committed to play for the Miami University RedHawks of the NCAA in 2016-17.
Christopher Wilkie (6/162)
American-born right wing Chris Wilkie was drafted after scoring 52 goals and 91 points in two season with the USHL's Tri-City Storm. The Nebraska native is currently playing at the NCAA level for the storied University of North Dakota program. Wilkie has been relatively quiet in his freshman campaign, tallying just 3 goals and 1 helper in 23 games. Noting there to really be concerned about, as Wilkie is a long-range prospect who has plenty of time to round out his game in Grand Forks.
Patrick Shea (7/192)
Shea was the first of Florida's two picks in the final round of the draft after putting up 19 goals and 20 assists in 33 games for Kimball Union Academy. Shea is a University of Maine commit, but after contemplating playing for the USHL's Youngstown Phantoms, he decided to stay in New Hampshire and play one more season at Kimball Union. The prep school currently sports a 19-3-1 record.
Ryan Bednard (7/206)
The last of the Panthers' 2015 haul, Bednard was drafted 162nd overall after appearing in 37 games for the Johnstown Tomahawks of the Tier-II NAHL. Bednard compiled a 16-16-5 record with a 2.66 GAA, 1 shutout and a .913 save percentage. He also played one game for the USHL's Youngstown Phantoms, surrendering 4 goals in a loss. This season, Bednard is playing up a class in Youngstown and currently sports an 11-4-4 record, 2.57 GAA, and a save percentage of .912. The Michigan native is slated to play for Bowling Green University in 2016-17.