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Tippett hopes experience leads to role with Panthers

Forward prospect rounds out game with notes from previous camps

by Alain Poupart / Correspondent

CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. -- Owen Tippett is primed to make his next stay in the NHL permanent two seasons after his first experience with the Florida Panthers.

The forward, selected by the Panthers in the first round (No. 10) of the 2017 NHL Draft, played seven games for Florida at the start of the 2017-18 season before going back to juniors. He figures to contend for a roster spot with the Panthers in training camp.

"That's my goal," Tippett said during Panthers development camp in June. "I'm going to come into camp and give it everything I've got. Obviously, the end goal is to be here in September."

Tippett was in a similar situation last season, but the Panthers returned him to the Ontario Hockey League, where he had 74 points (33 goals, 41 assists) in 54 games with Mississauga and Saginaw; the 20-year-old then had 22 points (11 goals, 11 assists) in 22 OHL playoff games with Saginaw.

Video: ANA@FLA: Tippett scores first NHL goal on the rush

The Panthers have a strong nucleus with forwards Aleksander Barkov, Vincent Trocheck, Jonathan Huberdeau, Mike Hoffman and Evgenii Dadonov. But Tippett possesses the kind of offensive talent they'll make room for if he can prove dependable at both ends of the ice.

"He's a dynamic player when he's got the puck on his stick," Florida director of player personnel Bryan McCabe said. "We want to work with him on the details away from the puck and stuff that's going to make him successful at the next level."

Tippett (6-foot-1, 216 pounds) averaged 37.6 goals in his past three OHL seasons, but the focus for him was working on his all-around game; that's what the Panthers told him when they sent him back to juniors.

"Last year, I got a lot of notes," he said. "And I took them home and kind of worked them and put them into my game to where I think is where it's at. I feel like I've taken that next step and improved a bunch.

"When they give you criticism like that, you kind of think about it when you're there until it kind of becomes just a habit and you do it naturally without thinking about it. I think the first couple of weeks back I kind of did a lot of video and watched a lot of hockey and just kind of learned what it would take. Once I got back down and played 2-3 weeks with it, it kind of came naturally."

McCabe said it will be up to Tippett to make the most of his chance to impress in training camp.

"He'll get every opportunity, just like anyone else," McCabe said. "But he's got a special skill set that sets him apart from a lot of people. If he can put all the other stuff together and get a good hard summer of training in and come in in the best shape of his life, there's no reason he can't make the team."

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