Hey, when you’re huge, you don’t need to make as much of a leap.
Florida Panthers GM Dale Tallon didn’t do the usual hemming and hawing you’d expect when talking up Lawson Crouse, the 11th overall pick of the 2015 NHL Draft. Instead, he threw down the gauntlet after signing the sizable young prospect to an entry-level contract in July.
“He was one of our best players in development camp and we are confident he can make an immediate impact on our roster, playing on one of our top lines,” Tallon said via a Panthers release.
It’s not just Tallon pumping him up, either, as head coach Gerard Galland said that Crouse “will be given every opportunity to earn a top-six forward position on our roster during training camp.”
That’s quite the accelerated outlook for a towering 18-year-old (listed at 6-foot-4, 215 lbs) whose offense seemingly came up short at times; Crouse managed just 51 points in 56 games at the OHL level in 2014-15.
Such modest production would leave the impression that the Panthers might be wise to allow Crouse to marinate at the junior level for at least a little while, yet it sounds like the organization thinks he’s on the right track. Florida might be growing a touch impatient with the slow-and-steady approach, and one can also imagine that they see an “NHL body” in Crouse.
Of course, it’s not as if the Panthers are committed to a decision yet. They can change their mind during training camp or even through a few regular season contests and decide to let him develop at a slower pace with no harm done.
All disclaimers aside, it sounds like he’ll get a real chance to make the roster right out of the draft.
Want to know more about Crouse? Check out this profile.
The Florida Panthers have re-signed Jaromir Jagr to a one-year contract the club announced.
In 20 games with the Panthers this season Jagr had six goals and 18 points.
“Once he got here and he saw the talent, he’s really on board and he’s really excited,” said GM Dale Tallon.
The 43-year-old had a 11 goals and 29 points in 57 games with the New Jersey Devils prior to being dealt.
Florida finished the season last in attendance averaging 11,265 a night.
“Lets change it,” he said via George Richards of the Miami Herald. “I think people started realizing… they can see it when you watch TV, it’s a different team, a different Florida Panthers. Young guys with a lot of talent and speed and they can beat anybody.
“(The fans) are going to come. It’s just a matter of time. If we play good, if we start winning, they’re going to come. I hope they come and I wish they come.”
Jagr also shed light on just how bad Nick Bjugstad’s back injury was. Bjugstad underwent successful surgery in March.
“He was sitting next to me and when he tied his skates, he was on his knees,” said Jagr. “I thought ‘what’s going on here?’ I’d never seen anything like that. Then I found out he’s injured so he couldn’t even bend, he couldn’t tie his skates, but he played through that.”
Jagr says he still enjoys the game and knows when he will step away.
“When hockey starts to be my job, I’m not going to play anymore,” he said. “It’s got to be fun for me. I’ve got to love it.”
The Florida Panthers signed defenseman Steven Kampfer to a two-year extension the club announced on Saturday.
The 26-year-old was on a one-year, $550,000 deal and set to become a restricted free agent after this season.
Florida acquired Kampfer along with Andrew Yogan from the New York Rangers for Joey Crabb in October.
“Since we acquired Steven in October, he has been a welcome addition to our organization,” said Panthers’ GM Dale Tallon. “He has worked extremely hard since his recall and has fit very well into our line-up, contributing both offensively and defensively.
“Steven is most deserving of this contract extension and we look forward to his continued contributions to our club.”
Kampfer has a goal and three helpers to go along with a minus-3 rating while averaging 17:58 in ice time in 18 games with the Panthers this season.
He has also appeared in 42 AHL games with the San Antonio Rampage registering eight goals and 19 points.