Mike Santos, Florida Panther Assistant General Manager, commented on the play of his tournament prospects so far:
"All-in-all, we're happy with all our prospects. It's been a big jump from last year and I think that has to do with the commitments we've made as an organization, like with our development camp this summer -- things that haven't been done in the past that now we're doing the right way."
One thing that stands out is the size of the Panthers youngsters, as 16 of the 27 skaters on the Rookie Tournament roster are 6-foot-2 or taller. According to Santos, that is no coincidence.
"Size is one of the things we look for," he said. "Character is the most important thing to us, but after that, size is something you can't teach. You can expand their skills and do things to help them be a better hockey player, but you can't stretch them out. So when they're big, they're good."
We never really stopped believing in ourselves. We were hearing a lot of things about our team in the regular season. Seems like we put things back together at the right time and we're back in the finals with this group. We know what we have in this room, we believe in each other, we believe in the organization and it really matter what other people say.
— Patrick Sharp after Blackhawks clinched Western Conference title with Game 7 win vs. Ducks