The Florida Panthers were extremely pleased to get forward Owen Tippett with the 10th overall pick in the 2017 draft because as general manager Dale Tallon said (via the Panthers’ official website), the team had a need for a “sniper” and a “pure scorer” on their roster.
They are hopeful that Tippett, coming off of a 44-goal season (in only 60 games) for the Mississauga Steelheads of the Ontario Hockey League can provide that sort of presence.
After seeing what Tallon had to say about him this week it seems as if he could be making an impact with the Panthers as early as this season. At the very least, he is going to get a chance.
“He’s going to get every opportunity,” said Tallon (again via the Panthers). “I don’t have any problem and [head coach Bob Boughner] and our coaching staff don’t have any issues playing young guys. We’re building a team that’s going to be around for a long time and we’ll give him every opportunity to play this year.”
After winning just the second division title in franchise history in 2015-16 and setting themselves up for high expectations heading into last season, 2016-17 turned out to be a huge disappointment for the Panthers. But even though it was an obvious step backwards it is still a team that has a solid foundation in place with Aleksander Barkov, Jonathan Huberdeau, Aaron Ekblad, Nick Bjugstad and Vincent Trochek as long-term building blocks. None of those players are over the age of 24 and should, in theory, still have some of their best days ahead of them.
Along with potentially adding another young talent like Tippett to the mix the Panthers were also able to snag free agent Radim Vrbata in free agency, while also bringing back Evgeny Dadonov from Russia, a player they seem to have huge plans for.