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NOTEBOOK: Noel, Priskie Moved Up; Gibson Gets Going

by Jameson Olive @JamesonCoop / FloridaPanthers.com

9/30/21 Training Camp

9/30/21 Training Camp

Noel Acciari details the importance of team depth heading into the season and Chris Gibson shares his thoughts on his first preseason game

  • 01:35 •

In today's Baptist Health Practice Notebook, Serron Noel and Chase Priske join the main group in training camp, Christopher Gibson feels good after his first start of the preseason and more!

SUNRISE, Fla. - A few new faces joined the Panthers for their main practice on Thursday.

Taking the ice with the team's regulars at FLA Live Arena after spending the previous practice skating with the second group, forward Serron Noel and defenseman Chase Priskie both earned promotions following strong performances during Wednesday's 4-3 shootout win over the Stars.

"A couple move-ups based on what we've seen through camp," Panthers coach Quenneville said of the duo's promotions. "Serron had a nice camp prior to coming here and then two really solid games. Giving him a better look is more of a reward-basis. Chase, same thing with him."

Earning first-star honors in Dallas, Noel, a second-round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft, not only banged home the game-tying goal for the Panthers with just 44 seconds left in regulation, but also slipped a shot through Jake Oettinger's five-hole during the shootout to lock in the victory.

Preparing for his second season in the professional ranks after recording four points (one goal, three assists) during an eight-game stint in the AHL with Syracuse in 2020-21, the 21-year-old, who stands an imposing 6-foot-5 and 216 pounds, has been picking up steam for a few weeks.

Lacing up his skates in three games during the Prospect Showcase Tournament that preceded training camp, Noel first caught Quenneville's attention by racking up two goals and an assist.

"I thought when I saw him play in Tampa there in those rookie games, he was the most noticeable in those games too," Quenneville said. "It's been a really good camp for him. I like how he prepared himself and put himself in position to improve his position in the organization."

Likewise, Priskie is also hoping to climb the depth chart on the defensive side of the puck.

Inking a one-year, two-way contract with the Panthers this offseason, the 25-year-old blueliner, who grew up locally in Pembroke Pines, has already had a chance to cut his teeth as a pro for the last two seasons, producing 42 points (11 goals, 31 assists) in 72 career games in the AHL.

Against the Stars, Quenneville said Priskie's responsible two-way play really stood out.

"I thought he was involved a lot both offensively and defensively in the game," he said. "I thought he had a good flow. He had patience, looked confident and had the puck a lot."

That strong play also led to increased minutes as he skated a team-high 24:52 in Dallas.

GIBSON GETS GOING

Noel and Priskie weren't the only players to impress against the Stars.

Turning aside 35 of 38 shots, as well as stopping all three shooters he faced in the skills competition, Christopher Gibson seemingly stole the show during his preseason debut.

"I thought he was outstanding," Quenneville said. "They had ton of high-quality chances."

Joining the Panthers on a one-year, two-way deal this offseason, the 28-year-old netminder appeared in two games with the Lightning in 2020-21, registering a 1-1-0 record and .875 save percentage. He also played two games in the AHL, going 2-0-0 with a .925 save percentage.

"I just want an opportunity," Gibson said of signing with Florida. "Anywhere I can play, I'll be happy to go and play and help the team out as much as I can. Hopefully, I'll get a chance here."

Originally drafted by the Kings in the second round (49th overall) in 2011, Gibson arrived to the Panthers with a wealth of experience in the professional ranks. A veteran of 210 career games in the AHL, he's amassed a 107-67-33 record behind a solid .911 save percentage in that span.

"I like how we've been practicing," Gibson said of his first camp with the Cats. "I like everything that's going on around here. It's been a lot of fun and I'm happy that I got to play yesterday."

With the Panthers already set between the pipes with Sergei Bobrovsky and Spencer Knight to start, Gibson currently appears to be in a battle with Sam Montembeault, who he played with a bit in Syracuse last season, for the third goalie spot on the depth chart heading into the season.

Despite that jockeying for position, there's nothing but love between the club's puck-stoppers.

"Bob and Knighter have both been really nice," Gibson said with a smile. "They've welcomed me really well here. I've known Monty for years already, so we have that connection there already."

Looking ahead to Friday's rematch with the Stars, Gibson is expected to man the crease for one period while Bobrovsky, who is poised to make his preseason debut, will play the other two.

"I'm just going to practice and do my best," Gibson said. "We'll see what happens."

ACCIARI'S ASSETS

It seems like every practice there's a new high-end winger skating with Noel Acciari.

Having already spent time in between the high-scoring duo of Frank Vatrano and Patric Hornqvist, who combined for 32 goals last season, earlier in training camp, the hard-nosed center was flanked by Mason Marchment and Anthony Duclair during this afternoon's skate.

"I think offensively we have four lines that can go," Acciari said. "That's going to be huge."

While the Panthers certainly don't lack offensive talent heading into the season, Acciari knows that even with the elevated scoring depth around him that his primary role isn't to light the lamp.

A heart-and-soul player on the ice, it's his job to shut down the opposition's attack through big hits, blocked shots and winning battles in the dirty areas all over the ice. Far more valuable than the 11 points he notched last season, he paced the team's forwards in hits (91) and blocks (63).

Additionally, he also led Florida's forwards in minutes per game on the penalty kill (2:40).

"I take pride in blocking those shots," said Acciari, who added that his body will certainly enjoy this season's less-packed slate of games. "On the PK, you don't ever want to get scored on. I'll do anything to help this team win. If that's my role, then I'll do that to the best of my ability."

Winning a career-high 52.4% of his faceoffs last season, Quenneville said that, in addition to his physical play, he appreciates Acciari's work in the circle as one of team's few right-shot centers.

"It's all the intangibles he brings," Quenneville said. "He brings the little things, whether it's in the faceoff circle, traffic in front of the net, scoring ugly goals, winning puck battles or physicality."

LUNDELL GETTING CLOSE

Anton Lundell skated this morning and is "two or three" days away from returning to practice, according to Quenneville, who added that all of Florida's injured players are making strides.

That being said, you won't see anyone from that group -- Lundell, Joe Thornton, Lucas Carlsson, Karch Bachman or Maxim Mamin -- suit up against the Stars on Friday.

"They're all progressing," Quenneville said.

THURSDAY'S LINES & PAIRINGS

Forwards

Carter Verhaeghe - Aleksander Barkov - Sam Reinhart

Jonathan Huberdeau - Sam Bennett - Owen Tippett

Frank Vatrano - Eetu Luostarinen - Patric Hornqvist

Mason Marchment - Noel Acciari - Anthony Duclair

Ryan Lomberg - Juho Lammikko - Serron Noel

Defensemen

MacKenzie Weegar - Aaron Ekblad

Gustav Forsling - Brandon Montour

Markus Nutivaara - Radko Gudas

Kevin Connauton - Chase Priskie

Goaltenders

Sergei Bobrovsky

Spencer Knight

Christopher Gibson

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