Goldie's Blog: Peltonen Returns for Two More Seasons
/ Florida Panthers
The Panthers made their first move of what promises to be a busy and interesting off-season. As expected, Ville Peltonen is sticking around, signing a 2 year deal. More players like Peltonen need to be on the roster at the start of next season. He is a solid 2 way player, was a key penalty killer and scored 17 goals. Peltonen missed the season's first 10 games with a shoulder injury and then had to adjust to NHL play after spending the previous few seasons playing in Finland. He scored his 17 goals in the final 60 games of the season. A full 82 games next year and Peltonen has the potential to be in the 20s in goals. He thrived while playing with fellow Fin Olli Jokinen as it was Jokinen's recommendation to bring Peltonen here last year. If the duo stay together on a line, the Panthers must put a right winger with them that will be a physical presence and create space for them. Nathan Horton could certainly fill the role or the Cats will bring someone in as a free agent. The team needs a couple of wingers that can play on the top two lines if you count Horton, Jokinen, Peltonen and Weiss as four of your top six forwards.
On the prospect front, the playoffs have been showcases for two Panthers in particular. Shawn Matthias, acquired for Todd Bertuzzi, is at 13 goals goals in 13 games and his Belleville team won nine in a row in the post-season at one point. Former 1st rounder Kenndal McArdle leads the Vancouver Giants in scoring with eight goals and eight assists in 12 games. He is also a plus 14. It bodes well to see players get valuable post-season experience and thrive in that type of situation, even if is at the minor league level. Former second rounder Tyler Plante had a super regular season, 30 wins and a strong save percentage, leading Brandon to the playoffs. His team won its opening round but lost in the second round. Plante will turn 20 in a few weeks and with his size and ability could be in the NHL in a couple of seasons.