Good morning and welcome to “Cats & Coffee,” a weekly segment in which we get you caffeinated with an exciting look at the week ahead for the Florida Panthers.
SUNRISE, Fla. -- The BB&T Center was certainly the place to be over this past Saturday as both current and soon-to-be season seat owners descended upon the arena in order to select their new seats for what promises to be another exciting season in Sunrise.
With Panthers alumni Randy Moller and Billy Lindsay already lending a helping hand at the event, defenseman Steven Kampfer also made a surprise guest appearance to close a few deals and snap a few photos with the fans in attendance.
“It’s awesome to see the fans and mingle with them,” said Kampfer. “You get opportunities throughout the year to talk to them, but when they get seats you get to see where they’re going to be and it shows that hockey is just around the corner.”
As he prepares for his third season in South Florida, Kampfer is confident that the improvement the reigning Atlantic Division Champion Panthers showed on the ice this past season will have fans flocking to the arena in 2016-17.
“It’s the product that you put on the ice,” Kampfer said. “I think we did a good job last year of winning and attracting more fans, and that’s what’s fun. We’re bringing the excitement down here, and now everyone wants to be a part of it.”
When asked if he thinks the highlight-reel hip check he unleashed upon Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Frank Corrado last season may have already helped create a few new fans for the upcoming season, the 27-year-old Kampfer joked that he might have some commission heading his way.
“I hope so,” he chuckled. “That [hit] wasn’t really something I was expecting, but when it happened it was fun. It’s still fun to watch and hopefully something I can incorporate a little more of.”
HUBERDEAU SEASON REWIND
For the latest installment of our weekly “Season Rewind” series, a look back at forward Jonathan Huberdeau’s career-best campaign will be available for your viewing pleasure on Wednesday at FloridaPanthers.com.
Playing alongside Aleksander Barkov and Jaormir Jagr on Florida’s top-scoring line, the 23-year-old recorded a career-high 59 points (20-39—59) in 76 games during his fourth season with the Panthers.
Missed last week’s edition? No worries, we’ve got you covered!
Our season rewind on defenseman Alex Petrovic can be found here.
MORE UPCOMING EVENTS
2016 NHL Awards – June 22
A year after defenseman Aaron Ekblad captured the Calder Trophy as the NHL’s top rookie, three more Panthers -- Aleskander Barkov (Lady Byng), Gerard Gallant (Jack Adams) and Jaromir Jagr (Masterton Trophy) -- will look to secure some special hardware of their own at the upcoming NHL Awards in Las Vegas.
2016 NHL Entry Draft – June 25-24
After setting franchise records for wins (47) and points (103), while also capturing the Atlantic Division title, the Panthers will have six picks at the upcoming draft, including the 23rd and 33rd overall selections.
“I think it’s a pretty solid draft class,” Panthers President of Hockey Operations Dale Tallon recently told FloridaPanthers.com. “I think we’re going to get two really good players. We’re in good shape and we’re going to keep adding depth to our already deep depth chart. We’re really excited about it.”
There are still a couple weeks until your newest Panthers don their jerseys for the first time at the Niagara Center in Buffalo. Luckily, we’ll have an in-depth draft preview available in the coming weeks to help make the time fly by!