Florida Panthers Top 25 Under 25: #9 Rocco Grimaldi

The skilled 22-year-old cracks the top 10 in LBC's first Top 25 Under 25.

Rocco Grimaldi

Position: Forward

Birthdate: 02/08/1993 (22)

Acquired: 2nd round selection (#33 overall) 2011 NHL Entry Draft

2014-15 Team/League: Florida Panthers (NHL) / San Antonio Rampage (AHL)

AHL Stats:

64 14 28 42 22 9

Nationality: American

Size: 5'6"; 181 lbs.

Contract Status: RFA at end of 2015-2016 season ($925,000 AAV)

Rocco Grimaldi is one of the most interesting prospects the Panthers currently have in their cupboard, as there are so many attributes that he possesses that make his NHL potential incredibly intriguing.

Where to begin discussing Grimaldi? How about with his insane skill set that led to him averaging 1.26 points per game with the USNTDP during his draft year? Or the fact that he fell into the second round due to concerns over his size (there haven't been many 5'6" skaters in the NHL)? Or his devout Christian faith, which he proudly and openly talks about (unlike other players, who may not discuss religion as openly)? Or his unmatched work ethic, which has resulted in him talking consistently with a sports psychologist in order to fully prepare himself for the upcoming season?

This doesn't even begin to break down his successful college and AHL seasons, as he came close to averaging a point per game during his NCAA career, and averaged .66 points per game in his first campaing in the "A".

Rocco's sheer potential gets him within the top 10 of the Panthers' Top 25 Under 25, as he still has the skill and ability to become a top-six forward at the NHL level. Is this going to happen within the next two seasons? Probably not. When Rocco fully develops, is it possible that he plays his way onto the team's second line, and puts up great point totals? Of course.

Some scouting reports on Rocco, and thoughts on his potential from other websites:

Grimaldi is a top-flight NHL hockey player in a small package. He is a terrific skater, both with and without the puck. His quickness and acceleration are truly high end and he has the agility to match. His shot is deadly, and his passing skills are professional grade. Grimaldi is a tireless worker and often the most competitive player on the ice. His combination of puck skills, compete level and explosive skating give him everything he needs to overcome any issues he might have because of his size. - Hockey's Future

The talent is obvious, and anyone who watches Grimaldi can see that he has the skills to become an elite scorer at the NHL level.

His underlying metrics through the seven NHL games that he played seem to back this up, as well. His score adjusted relative shot attempts percentage was +11.5%, which leads all Florida Panthers skaters (with no minutes played limit, of course).

Now, to think that Grimaldi would have such a high rel SAT-percentage if he played a full season just isn’t accurate, but based on scouting reports and what teammates have said about him, it’s safe to suggest that he could be a positive possession player for the Panthers in 2015-2016...

Regardless of what happens in 2015-2016, it’s clear that Grimaldi has high end potential, and could be a very productive member of the Florida Panthers in the future. He’ll have to impress management at training camp in order to make the roster, but both groups could reap the rewards if the 5’6 forward shows that he has what it takes to showcase his talents in the NHL this season. - Today's Slapshot

Where We Voted for Grimaldi

Shane Todd JC Kevin Donny
12 10 12 10 5

Who We Voted 9th

Shane Todd JC Kevin Donny
Brandon Pirri Vincent Trocheck

Reilly Smith

Vincent Trocheck Erik Gudbranson