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Panthers Prospect Report: 03.24.10

by Staff Writer / Florida Panthers

PROSPECT ON FIRE
DERRICK LAPOINT

Intangibles
Position: D             Shoots: Left
Height:   6-3            Weight: 175
Born: 5/13/88 in Eau Claire, WI
How Acquired: Panthers fourth-round pick (116th overall) in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft.
The Skinny
Derrick LaPoint takes home this week's honor of “Prospect On Fire”.

The Panthers fourth-round pick in 2006, has had quite the season for the University of North Dakota. The junior defenseman was just named to the WCHA All-Tournament team as he helped lead the Fighting Sioux to capture the Broadmoor Trophy at the 2010 Red Baron WCHA Final Five.

LaPoint finished the tournament with five-assists and a plus-six in six games in collecting the honors, including registering three assists and a plus-four in their first game of the tournament against Minnesota.

The Eau Claire, Wisconsin native leads all Sioux defensemen in points with 22 on the season (two goals). His 20 assists are fourth best on the team

North Dakota is ranked number four overall in the USCHO and CBS College Sports polls and have earned the Number 2 seed in the NCAA Northeast Regional. There they'll face Yale in the first round Saturday March 27 (4pm EST in Worcester, Massachusetts).

Stats
Team GP G A PTS PIM +/-
North Dakota 42 2 20 22 14 +15

AMERKS.COM
(38-30-2, 7th in AHL Western Conference)

THE NEXT SEVEN DAYS
Wednesay March 24th at Lake Erie (7:00pm)
Friday March 26th vs Binghamton (7:05pm)
  Saturday March 27th at Toronto (4:00pm)
Sunday March 28th vs Toronto (3:00pm)

WEEKLY NOTES: The road to the 2010 Calder Cup Playoffs has only seen two teams travel down its course, but with the end of the regular season just 19 days away, the American Hockey League remains in full swing as the quest for a berth in the postseason becomes increasingly active down the final stretch. The North Division-leading Hamilton Bulldogs and the defending league champion Hershey Bears were the first to clinch their respective divisions to be guaranteed postseason play. The Rochester Americans, who are 5-5-0-0 in their last 10, enter the week in third place in the North Division, one point behind the Abbotsford Heat. Coming off its first winless (and pointless) weekend since mid-December, Rochester takes its three-game losing streak into a four-game in five-night stretch, one that includes three games against divisional opponents. This week, the Amerks head to Cleveland to close out their season series with Lake Erie before hosting Binghamton and taking on Toronto in a home-and-home series.    

TAYLOR JOINS ELITE AHL CLUB: Veteran forward Chris Taylor became the newest member of an exclusive AHL club during Rochester’s 5-4 loss to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on Saturday night. Taylor's third-period goal was his second point of the game and the 500th point of his AHL career, making him just the 80th player in the 74-year history of the American Hockey League to reach that plateau. Further, the 18-year pro sits just a mere two goals away from moving ahead of Ron Garwasiuk for 13th on the all-time goals list.

JOHNSON NEARS 70-POINT BENCHMARK: Amerks forward Jamie Johnson is seven points away from becoming the first player since the 2004-05 campaign to reach the 70-point benchmark. He has just 10 games left to accomplish the feat, which was last achieved by Taylor in 2004-05.

AMERKS NOTES: Rochester (38-30-2-0, 78 points) enters the week after falling into third place in the North Division following back-to-back losses over the weekend. The Amerks have now lost three straight and four of their last five with just 10 games to go in the regular season. 

Johnson, who shows 12 points (4+8) in his last 18 games, continues to be Rochester’s top point- getter with a team-high 63 points. Averaging under a point per game, Johnson is 15th in the AHL in overall point production, while his 40 assists are also 15th best in the league.    

Jeff Taffe netted a pair of goals over the weekend to leapfrog Johnson as the team’s leader with 25 goals to match his season totals from a year ago. He presently ranks tied for 13th in the league in goals scored and is second among Rochester’s active roster with six power-play goals. 

Veteran defenseman Clay Wilson took over the team lead with 42 assists following a three-assist performance Saturday night in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. He enters the week in the midst of a season-long six-game point streak (1+7) and has 13 points (2+11) in his last 11 games. He also has a team-best 23 assists on the power-play this season, good enough for third in the AHL in that category. Wilson continues to be Rochester’s top scoring defenseman with 55 points (12+42) and is second in scoring among league blueliners. Additionally, Wilson is tied for 10th in the AHL with 42 assists.

Rookie goaltender Alexander Salak, who has started four straight and eight of the last 11 games between the pipes for Rochester, boasts a 28-14-0 record with a 2.83 goals-against average and a .911 save percentage in 45 games.

Veteran forward Mike York has collected 15 points (5+10) in 13 games since returning to the lineup on February 19th. He sits four points away from 100 AHL points. Amerks captain Rory Fitzpatrick is three points from 200 as a pro, while 2010 AHL All-Star forward Graham Mink is just one goal shy from 200 pro goals.


FLORIDAEVERBLADES.COM
(35-23-9, 6th in ECHL American Conference)
THE NEXT SEVEN DAYS
Thursday March 25th at Charlotte (7:00pm)
Saturday March 27th at Gwinnett (7:05pm)
  Saturday March 28th at Gwinnett (4:05pm)

WEEKLY NOTES: The Florida Everblades finished off five-straight meetings with the South Carolina Stingrays and concluded their 13-game regular season series at home in Germain Arena last week. A solid third period saw the Stingrays claim a 5-3 decision on Friday night. Saturday, the Everblades turned the table and skated to a 5-3 decision. Then the Blades took to the road for the first of four contests, falling 6-2 to Charlotte.
 
This week the Everblades finish up the 2009-10 schedule on the road with another game in Charlotte and their final two meetings in Gwinnett. The Everblades and Checkers meet Thursday, March 25 in Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte before finishing up their long road trip on Saturday, March 27 and Sunday, March 28 in Gwinnett.




STATISTICS




Information from the amerks.com and floridaeverblades.com used to create this report.
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