Tag: Brandon Pirri

Boston Bruins v Florida Panthers

Panthers’ biggest question: Can the old guys hang on while the young guys get better?


The Florida Panthers are a bit of an odd team, in terms of their mix.

They have Jaromir Jagr, who at 43 is the oldest player in the NHL by a considerable margin. They also have a couple of 38-year-olds in Willie Mitchell and Shawn Thornton, plus a couple of 36-year-olds in Roberto Luongo and Brian Campbell.

Yet you can’t call the Panthers an old team. These aren’t the New Jersey Devils we’re talking about here.

Not with 19-year-old Aaron Ekblad, the league’s reigning rookie of the year, and 22-year-old Jonathan Huberdeau, who received the same honor in 2013.

Also, Nick Bjugstad, Aleksander Barkov, Brandon Pirri, Reilly Smith, Vincent Trocheck, Dmitry Kulikov, Erik Gudbranson, Alex Petrovic, and Dylan Olsen. All of them under 25 years of age.

Oh, and don’t forget Lawson Crouse, the 18-year-old winger that could make the team. And Rocco Grimaldi, the 22-year-old forward who had 42 points 64 AHL games last season.

You get the point.

“We’ve got young players that are very capable of playing for us next year,” said GM Dale Tallon. “We don’t want to shut the door on that. We want those guys to get every opportunity to be on our team. I want to be the youngest team in the league and the best team in the league at the same time.”

The key next season will be for the old guys to hang on while the young guys get better. If that happens, the Panthers have a legitimate shot at making the playoffs, and even making some noise once they get there.

On the other hand, if key veterans like Jagr, Campbell and Luongo start showing their age and/or the youngsters experience too many growing pains, they could stumble.

Related: Roberto Luongo is under pressure

With 11th overall pick, Panthers looking to add ‘one more final piece’ to the core

Florida Panthers v Buffalo Sabres

On paper, the Florida Panthers have all the makings of a future Stanley Cup contender.

Talented, young forwards already in the organization include Jonathan Huberdeau, Nick Bjugstad, Aleksander Barkov, Brandon Pirri, and Rocco Grimaldi. Meanwhile, on the back end, they’ve got a potential Norris Trophy winner in Aaron Ekblad.

For three of those players, they can thank all the losing they’ve done. The Panthers were able to draft Huberdeau with the third overall pick in 2011, Barkov second overall in 2013, and Ekblad first overall in 2014.

The Panthers also have the third overall pick from the 2010 draft in defenseman Erik Gudbranson. Even if the big, tough 23-year-old has yet to become a star, the club still considers him “one of the building blocks for our team.”

On top of all that, the Panthers have the 11th overall pick in the upcoming draft, of which they’ll be the hosts.

“We view this as one of the last pieces that we’re going to acquire at the draft that could really help us get to the next level sooner rather than later,” Panthers director of scouting Scott Luce told the Sun-Sentinel earlier this week.

“We’ve got a good young corps, so we feel that with this draft we can take that final step and add one more final piece to the core that will be our core for hopefully close to the next 10 years.”

In a lot of ways, the Panthers look a lot like their state rivals from Tampa Bay did a few years ago. Remember that the Lightning were able to translate losing seasons into drafting Steven Stamkos with the first overall pick in 2008 and Victor Hedman second overall in 2009.

Obviously, there’s no guarantee the Panthers will have the same success as the Lightning, who’ve done a lot more to build a contender than just draft Stamkos and Hedman.

But Panthers fans have every right to believe a winning team is around the corner, even if most of the national focus on the franchise has been negative.

PHT Morning Skate: Brandon Pirri loses his stick to a fan

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PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Florida Panthers forward Brandon Pirri scored twice in Thursday night’s 4-1 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs. Pirri now has 16 goals in 22 games. However, he may have lost his lucky stick. During the third period Leafs forward Richard Panik flipped Pirri’s stick over the glass (see video below). Panik received a misconduct on the play. A lucky fan five rows up received a nice souvenir as a result.

“That was a weird play,” chuckled Pirri post-game. “It got pretty deep in the crowd.”

Want to have former New York Yankee Derek Jeter as a neighbor? Buy Vincent Lecavalier’s house. Lecavalier’s Florida home, which is a few doors down from Jeter, is currently on the market. (Tampa Bay Times)

Editor’s Note: Play one-day fantasy hockey tonight! Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a $20,000 league for Friday’s NHL games. It’s just $2 to join and first place wins $2,000. Starts Friday at 8:00pm ET. Enter Now!

A young Boston Bruins fan received a hockey card Thursday night. Liam Fitzgerald, who was born with Down syndrome and beat a leukemia diagnosis, received the card from Upper Deck.

Connor McDavid had quite an impact on attendance in the Ontario Hockey League this season. Teams entertaining McDavid saw a 20 percent increase in attendance when the Erie Otters were in town. (NHLtoSeattle.com)

Darren Helm’s girlfriend gave birth to the couple’s daughter on a Michigan highway this week. (Detroit Red Wings)

Actor Matthew Perry was on Jimmy Kimmel Live this week and discussed his friendship with L.A. Kings’ forward Anze Kopitar.

Ken Campbell writes the Arizona Coyotes need to win the NHL Draft lottery more than the Buffalo Sabres. (The Hockey News)

Signing Day: After getting Baun, Chicago inks Paliotta

USA Hockey Junior Evaluation Camp - USA Blue v Finland

Nice little Thursday for the Blackhawks.

Just hours after beating out several NHL clubs in securing the rights to Colgate standout Kyle Baun, the ‘Hawks announced they signed Michael Paliotta — their third-round pick at the 2011 NHL Entry Draft — to a two-year deal.

Paliotta, 21, just wrapped a four-year career at Vermont in style, posting a career-high 36 points while being named to the Hockey East second-team. He’s got good size — 6-foot-4, 205 pounds — and ‘Hawks GM Stan Bowman is high on his ability, recently saying he’d like Paliotta to turn pro right now.

And so, Paliotta has.

This, along with the Baun deal, signifies a potential changing of the guard in Chicago. In recent years, the organization wasn’t the ideal landing spot for prospects; given Chicago’s wealth of talent at the NHL level, the likes of Brandon Pirri, Jimmy Hayes, Adam Clendening (drafted the same year as Paliotta) and Jeremy Morin failed to crack the roster and were dealt elsewhere while one prospect — ’10 first-rounder Kevin Hayes, Jimmy’s younger brother — balked on the ‘Hawks entirely, opting to hit free agency rather than sign an entry-level deal in Chicago, eventually inking with the Rangers.

Times appear to have have changed, though.

The ‘Hawks are facing a summer of upheaval, which could be why Baun and Paliotta — who, like Hayes, could’ve gone unrestricted this summer — decided to come on board. TSN’s Bob McKenzie said Patrick Sharp will be “gone, for sure” this summer and it’s expected the ‘Hawks will also have to part ways with veteran d-man Johnny Oduya, in part because of the $10M cap hit extensions for Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, which kick in next year.

With other experienced players potentially leaving (Antoine Vermette and Brad Richards are also pending UFAs), Chicago might now be seen as an organization filled with opportunity, rather than roadblocks.

Panthers’ playoff hopes take massive blow vs. Lightning


The Florida Panthers have been treading water lately, but that’s not nearly good enough given their situation. After suffering a 4-3 loss to Tampa Bay tonight, Florida will need a lot of help in order to advance to the playoffs.

Florida was behind 2-0 going into the second period, but the Panthers rallied back with goals from Jussi Jokinen, Brandon Pirri, and Jonathan Huberdeau all within the span of two minutes.

As impressive as that stretch was though, it wasn’t enough. The Panthers outshot the Lightning 14-8 in the third frame, but Tampa Bay was the only team to find the back of the net in that period. Ryan Callahan scored the game-winner with 2:28 remaining to prevent Florida from getting even a mercy point.

The Boston Bruins and Ottawa Senators were both idle tonight, so the Florida Panthers remain four and five points back respectively. However, they have now played in one more game than Ottawa. That combined with the Panthers big deficit when it comes to the tiebreaker ROW makes it hard to envision a Panthers’ comeback. That being said, Florida will have an opportunity to spark a hot streak against the lowly Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday.