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A Scout's Eye: Mid-Summer Update

by Staff Writer / Florida Panthers
A Scout's Eye is a blog written by Panthers Director of Amateur Scouting Scott Luce as he takes you behind the scenes of what a scout really goes through as they prepare for their big holiday, the NHL Entry Draft. Scouts are the reason for the home-grown product, those players that are drafted by the team and then make a huge difference for them.

Luce is in his seventh season with the Panthers, after joining the club's scouting staff on July 11, 2002. He oversees the club's amateur scouts and works closely with Panthers assistant General Manager Randy Sexton, tracking prospects throughout the world.

Luce has been responsible for the Panthers drafting notable players such as Nathan Horton, Rostislav Olesz, David Booth, Michael Frolik, Michal Repik, Keaton Ellerby, Jacob Markstrom and Dmitry Kulikov.

A Scout's Eye Archive

Well the Draft came and went quite quickly. Montreal did a wonderful job as hosts. The weather was nice outside for most of the week, but our staff was stuck inside finishing off our final interviews, adjusting our list and discussing different trade scenarios.
We added a high end Defenseman (Dmitry Kulikov) who brings several above average skills on projection. We added both size and speed up the middle and increased our skill set in the process with the selection of Drew Shore in the 2nd Round. Picking up a 3rd round pick in the Bouwmeester trade was very important as it enabled us to select Josh Birkholz who is a strong skating winger with a hard shot. In today's game, his speed should turn out to be a strong asset for him on projection. We did not have a fourth round selection, but were able to swing a trade with the Los Angeles Kings and picked up a 4th round and an additional 5th in the trade. We added Garrett Wilson in the 4th who is a hard nosed forward that is difficult to play against as he uses his current size and strength to create offense and crash the net. He is a very raw prospect at this point in time, but we like his upside on projection and liked what we heard from his GM Dale Degray who is a former Panthers Scout.
The 5th Round saw us take two players that are going to be long term prospects as they are attending NCAA schools. Corban Knight will be at the University of North Dakota to start the 2010-11 Season which makes him a 5 year prospect and Wade Megan is already enrolled at Boston University for the upcoming season. With our last selection, we took Scott Timmins from the Memorial Cup Champions Windsor Spitfires. He is an older player with experience and will have a shot at making our farm team in Rochester out of training camp this year. 
For the second year in a row we entered the Draft with only 4 picks, but we ended up with 7 total picks this year which adds to our increasing stable of prospects.
The start of July saw me in South Florida for the start of Free Agency. Things went well as the Pro staff was thoroughly prepared and made sure we were able to have our wish list in proper order. We got the players that will be fits for us moving forward.
I am just wrapping up July with a visit back in Florida to watch five of our new draft picks go through the paces with our new strength & conditioning coach. It was nice to see the excitement of each prospect as they got their first taste of the NHL atmosphere. I was impressed with their focus. They now know what the standard is for success and have to work hard to make sure they can achieve their goals.
August will bring the start of the 2009-10 Scouting Season. We will be covering both the USA and Canadian World Junior Development Camps. Colby Robak is attending the Canadian Camp and we have three players at the USA Camp: Adam Comrie, AJ Jenks and Drew Shore.  Then it is off to Slovakia and the Czech Republic for the Ivan Hlinka Tournament. The best first year draft eligible players from eight countries are there and it gives our staff an early look see a the quality and quantity of prospects for the upcoming Draft.
I will provide an update on how our prospects do as well as what I see in Europe in my next post. 
Hope the Summer is going well for all of our fans.
Scott Luce
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