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."
For six months, it's a really good accomplishment. But as soon as April [11, the end of the regular season] comes around, no one thinks about the regular season anymore. For six months, it's a real battle to get into the playoffs in the NHL these days. There are a lot of good teams, and it takes consistency over a long time.
— Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau on clinching a playoff berth after a win against the Islanders on Saturday