2015 Florida Panthers Development Camp: Recapping Day Four

The final day of the team's development camp featured some 4-on-4, 3-on-3, 2-on-2, 1-on-1, and shootout action.

Though most of our attention over the past 24 hours has been focused on the team's trade with the Boston Bruins, and the... "interesting" tendencies of certain members of the media, the 2015 Development Camp continued, and the Thursday morning on-ice session was certainly more interesting than the previous two.

The team conducted scrimmages with any number of players on the ice, sometimes doing four-on-four, and other times doing one=on-one, resulting in lots of open ice and skaters showing off their abilities.

The most impressive player by far was the team's 2015 1st round selection, Lawson Crouse.

This goal scored was almost a mirror image of the Vine below, but with one defender at the blue line, and two in the offensive zone. He got around three people before roofing the puck, on a move that I don't think anyone in the camp would have been able to stop. The big-bodied winger doesn't have to be fancy with the puck, as he is simply too large and moving too fast to be stopped.

He also moves very fast for his size. It's wonderful to see.

Now, to answer the question that I know is coming: Will he make the NHL team out of training camp? I don't know. There's so much else that could happen between now and October, and even then, development camp isn't exactly the best time to be viewing a player. Aaron Ekblad looked okay, but not good, during camp last year, got paired with Brian Campbell to start the season, and ended up winning the Calder Trophy.

Will Crouse get a nine game tryout? Yes. Will he stay on the roster past then? I truly don't know.

There were other forwards besides Crouse who impressed, including Rocco Grimaldi, Chase Balisy, Karch Bachman, Patrick Shea, and Steven Hodges.

Rocco made one of the defensemen on the opposing team just look absolute childish. Absolutely abused him at the blueline, and easily walked into the zone to create a 2-on-1.

This was insane. We saw Rocco flatten Patrick Shea yesterday, but Shea is closer to Grimaldi's size. Evan Fiala is almost a full foot taller than Rocco, but the smaller forward had no problem bull-rushing the larger defenseman in order to get to the puck.

Balisy is a solid signing. I'm not sold on his NHL potential, but he'll be a key contributor in Portland this season.

Bachman's defensive zone play needs work, but when he's in the offensive zone, he never stops moving and constantly chases the puck down. As a result, the puck ends up on his stick often, and that gives him plenty of opportunities to create offense.

I don't know how Dale Tallon found Shea, but I love this kid's play. Though it's a very small sample, and development camp isn't really the best place to be making decisions, he is definitely on my radar now and I'll be following his career at the University of Maine closely.

Hodges had a quiet, but solid camp, and did enough with the puck that he was noticed, even if he didn't wow. He spent most of 2014-2015 in the ECHL, so his pro potential seems limited, but consistent time in Portland this year isn't out of the question.

A couple of defensemen drew attention to themselves, as well.

The Tweet above says "Thoms", but that's just a typo: the kid's name is Thomas Schemitsch, and he looked great all throughout today's action.

I love that goal in the first Tweet. He jumps right into the slot, gets control of the puck, brings it across Royal Road, and gets it past the goalie. A quality scoring chance converted.

Seriously. This guy has crazy offensive skills, and is fast enough to outskate a lot of players. He gets beat defensively often, though, so I'm really hoping that the team changes their philosophy with the former Halifax Moosehead.

For example, look at that move to get around Connor Brickley in the offensive zone. Pure offensive skill. As a side note, sure he gets laid out, but Brickley had already been muscled off the puck twice by Weegar. MacKenzie also made an incredible move at the blue line to get the puck into the zone before Brickley laid him out.

On this play, where he got rejected by Cowley, he carried the puck behind the net, and then cut into the middle quick and ended up all alone against the goaltender.

Moving Weegar up front gives the team a versatile forward who can drop back on defense if necessary. Jon Cooper utilized the seven defensemen, seven forward system in Tampa Bay, and a guy like Weegar would function perfectly as that 7th defenseman/12th forward. Regardless, I love his offensive acumen, and would like to see him play a bigger role in the AHL next year.

Evan Cowley made a couple of strong saves, but also let a couple of weak goals in. He'll be headed back to the Denver (NCAA) for the 2015-2016 season, and should play well there. Look for him to build on the success he had in last year.

Colin Stevens, on the other hand, will not be going back to college. He also had a good camp, especially on this last day.

Matheson came out of the corner, after Stevens airmailed a pass up to the player in red. Matheson managed to catch his opponent.

Overall, the team had a great camp and has a lot to look forward to. I can answer any questions regarding other prospects that I didn't get to, and thanks for following along this year.