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Rats Roundup

by Kyle Morrison / Florida Panthers
The Cats have been busy on and off the ice since the last edition of Rats Roundup – four games, the trade deadline and a few prospects signing – so let’s dive right in.

First, there are some new faces around the locker room, as the Panthers swung moves to acquire three players prior to the trade deadline, all within the span of a few hours.

Aiming to bolster the lineup, the Cats picked up forwards Jiri Hudler and Teddy Purcell, and defenseman Jakub Kindl. Jameson Olive broke down the moves in Monday’s Cats & Coffee feature, and what to expect from each of the acquisitions.

Hudler and Purcell made their Panthers debuts a few nights later in Winnipeg, with Purcell picking up an assist in the Cats 3-2 win over the Jets.

Those trades weren’t the only moves the Panthers made this week, either. In addition to trading Brandon Pirri to Anaheim for a draft pick, the Cats also agreed to entry-level contracts with two key forward prospects – Jayce Hawryluk and Dryden Hunt.

Hunt and Hawryluk are both in the midst of incredible seasons in the WHL. The 20-year-old Hunt has taken the league by storm, notching 50 goals and 102 points over his first 63 games this season. And Hawryluk hasn’t been far behind – he scored five goals in a game earlier this week – and currently has a 35-50–85 line through 50 games.

For more prospect info, check out this week’s In the Pipeline.

While Hunt and Hawryluk are approaching the start of their professional careers, Jaromir Jagr is still thriving 25 years after his NHL debut. And he hit another milestone last night, tying Gordie Howe for third all-time with 1850 points.

The Cats also got some international love this week, as four players were named to their national preliminary rosters for the World Cup of Hockey. Aleksander Barkov and Jussi Jokinen got the nod for team Finland, while Dmitry Kulikov will be donning a Russian sweater once again.

Meanwhile, Aaron Ekblad’s representing an entire continent – and age group – as he was named to Team North America, a squad chock full of the continent’s best under-23 talent.
Each team still has seven more spots to fill, so don’t be shocked to see more Cats on the international stage this summer.

One of those players could be center Nick Bjugstad, who is apparently predisposed towards water Pokemon. He recalled fond memories of his holographic Blastoise Pokemon card that he had as a child, plus gave his thoughts on the trade deadline and youth hockey in this week’s Bjugy’s Blog.

And here’s your weekly #SpaceyInSpace update, as everyone’s favorite hoodie got even more national love. Last week, it was NBC’s TODAY Show. This week, #SpaceyInSpace was on display at the worldwide leader, as SportsCenter anchors Linda Cohn and Randy Scott donned the hoodie in a segment about the Panthers.

And in case you’ve forgotten – or just didn’t hear – all of the proceeds from the hoodies go towards the Kevin Spacey Foundation and the Florida Panthers Foundation.
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