With the first on-ice session of Development Camp in the books, the Florida Panthers got yet another glimpse of their future this afternoon at the Florida Panthers IceDen in Coral Springs, FL.
“It’s really exciting,” said Panthers General Manager Dale Tallon. “It’s just starting to get deeper and deeper for us. As we’ve talked every year it seems like a broken record, but it’s all coming [together]. There’s a lot of good assets out there, really good. We’ve got size, we’ve added some speed, some skill, some scoring, big goaltenders. I’m very, very happy with the first day.”
Among those Tallon was happy with was the Panthers 2015 first round draft choice, F Lawson Crouse. The 6-foot-4, 215-pound forward has had a whirlwind week in South Florida. Before his draft journey to South Florida, Crouse had never been to the Sunshine State. After being selected by the Cats on June 26, Crouse extended his visit by another few days as he jumped right from the Draft stage to camp.
“You always have to be ready,” said Crouse about his quick transition into camp. “It was a short turnaround, but for the most part I was ready to go. Right when I was drafted they told me that camp was starting on Sunday night and leading into today. I knew what I was in for, so I rested over the weekend, spent time with friends and family and was ready to go for today.”
With many new faces at camp this year, there were a few D-camp veterans as well. Panthers 2012 first round draft choice, D Michael Matheson finds himself as one of the older prospects at camp. Now at his fourth Development Camp, the former Boston College Captain finds himself again in a leadership role, this time with his potential future Panthers teammates.
“It’s a little different,” said Matheson about being one of the elder participants. “We were kind of joking when we first got here that we were kind of old of a sudden. I think it’s a good thing, it will help coming into training camp in September, to be down here and not be the first or second year guy that’s just learning the ropes. I think that’s what development camp is for. To be able to get down here and get that experience, meet all the people here and learn as much as you can. “
Day two of Development Camp will be all off-ice activities with the prospects participating in a beach workout, a youth street hockey clinic and a season ticket holder skating event at Florida Panthers IceDen. The prospects return to the ice on Wednesday at 10 AM.