Florida Panthers 2018 Draft Class update
Let’s take a look at the numbers last year’s draftees put up
With the 2019 NHL Entry Draft fading in our rear window and the regular season slowly approaching, let’s take a look back at last year’s six-man draft haul and see how they did during the 2018-19 season.
Grigori Denisenko (First Round - 15th overall)
When you put it all together, he spent the season in Russia where he played for three different teams at three different levels, the talented Denisenko had a very solid campaign after being taken fifteenth overall by Dale Tallon & Co.
In 25 regular games with Lokomotiv Yaroslavl of the KHL, Denisenko put up 4 goals and 2 assists, and displayed a feisty side by racking up 58 PIM. He also appeared in six postseason games and chipped in three assists. Not shabby for a slight 18-year-old playing against men in the world’s second best league.
With second division (VHL) Lada Togliatti, he produced three points (1G/2A) in six games.
In the MHL with Loko Yaroslavl, the Russian version of Major Junior, Denisenko amassed three points in four regular reason and then turned in a fine performance in the playoffs with 6 goals and eight points in 13 games.
The highlight of the dynamic young winger’s season came at the 2019 World Junior Championship, where he led the tournament in scoring with nine points (4G/5A) in seven games, helping his country capture Bronze.
Serron Noel (Second Round - 34th overall)
Noel showed great improvement in his third and perhaps final season in the Ontario Hockey League. The 6’5” winger put up career junior-highs with 34 goals, 47 assists and 81 points after totaling 53 points in 2017-18.
He helped lead his Oshawa Generals team to the Eastern Conference final, where they were swept by Ottawa. In 14 postseason games, Noel produced 4 goals and 7 assists.
The 18-year-old signed an entry-level contract back in March and will come to camp looking to play his way into a professional job with the Cats, which given the current state of the roster is unlikely.
Chances are Noel will go back to the OHL, where he will get a chance to dominant the league and play in the 2020 World Junior Championship. At the recent World Junior Summer Showcase, he scored two goals in three games for Canada.
Logan Hutsko (Third Round - 89th overall)
Hutsko was hoping to put up better numbers for Boston College during his sophomore season after finishing with a team-leading 31 points as a freshman. He was named Hockey East Rookie of the Year and was the No. 8 scorer in the country among freshmen while posting a +10 rating in 31 games.
Unfortunately, the 20-year-old forward got off to a slow start, going 18 games without a goal at one point, and struggled on an Eagles team that just wasn’t as good as the season prior.
He finished up with 6 goals and 20 assists, a five-point drop from his freshman effort, but the good news is 10 of those points came in Boston College’s final 10 games. After the regular season, Hutsko helped the Eagles stun a pair of eventual Frozen Four teams to reach the Hockey East final and is looking forward to having a big junior season.
Justin Schutz (Sixth Round - 170th overall)
The German-born Schutz spent most of the 2018-19 season with EC Salzburg II. In 25 regular season games in the Alps Hockey League, he scored 12 goals and picked up 16 helpers from the wing. He added one goal in five postseason games.
Schutz also appeared in three games with EHC Munich of the Deutsche Eishockey Liga, the top league in Germany, where he registered one assist and 2 PIM.
The 19-year-old will continue toiling in Europe this season in hopes of earning an entry-level contract with the Panthers in the future.
Cole Krygier (Seventh Round - 201st overall)
A left-shooting defenseman with good size, Krygier, along with his twin brother Christian, made the jump from the USHL to the Michigan State University,
Krygier scored one goal and added four assists in 26 games as a freshman for the Spartans. He finished the season with a -5 rating and 16 PIM. Krygier had two assists over the final six games of the season, drawing a helper on Adam Goodsir’s game-winning goal against Penn State and then earning another at Ohio State on March 1.
The 19-year-old will return to East Lansing this fall and continue working on his game in hopes of becoming a pro one day.
Santtu Kinnunen (Seventh Round - 207th overall)
The second of Florida’s seventh round picks, Kinnunen, a 20-year-old defenseman, split his time between Finland’s top two divisions.
In 27 Liiga games with Pelicans, Kinnunen scored his first goal in the league and added six assists, while registering a very solid +12 rating.
With Peliitat Heinola of second tier Mestis, his offensive numbers (1G/12A) were better and he showed a more physical side by racking up 35 PIM in 21 games.
Which 2018 pick will have biggest impact on the Panthers?