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Summer Plans: Frank Vatrano

by Jameson Olive / @JamesonCoop /

Welcome to the brand new series "Summer Plans," where your favorite Florida Panthers players share what they'll be up to in the months before the 2019-20 season.

This week's Panther: Frank Vatrano

Q: How much time do you plan to take off before getting back to work this summer?

VATRANO: My summer's a little different because I'm going to the World Championship. I'll take a couple weeks off and then get back [to the United States] at the end of May if we go all the way. After that, I'll only have about three months left to train before camps start back up.

Q: How big a change is that from your usual summer routine?

VATRANO: I usually start training at the beginning of May or end of April, so it's not that much different than what I'm used to. All it means is that I have a little less downtime, but that's not a bad thing. Any time you get to represent your country and put that USA jersey on, it's an honor.

Q: What does it mean to have Team USA invite you back to the World Championship?

VATRANO: It's obviously great. I played in them before in the U-17 and U-18 tournaments, and then again in the main tournament back in 2016. It's a dream come true. It's fun. You get to play with some great guys. Overall, it's just a really great experience.

Q: Does that invite feel like a reward after your breakout season in 2018-19?

VATRANO: Yeah, it does. It's nice that they thought highly enough of me as a player to bring me over there. Hopefully I can help bring home a gold medal.

Q: From signing a three-year contract extension to scoring a career-high 24 goals, how would you sum up your first full season as a member of the Florida Panthers?

VATRANO: It was a great season for me, personally. Ever since I came here I've felt comfortable and knew that this was the place that I wanted to be going forward. Obviously adding Coach Q [Joel Quenneville] to the mix - the NHL's second all-time winningest coach - I think it just adds a great piece to our team. I think we're going to be a dangerous team now that he's here.

Q: When you do start your offseason training after the World Championship, is there one specific area of your game that you're going to be focusing on more than anything else?

VATRANO: For me, it's just making sure my skating gets a little better. I'm good straight away, but I need to make sure that I have quick feet and can get in and out of turns. That's the biggest thing for me. I also want to stay on top of my conditioning because it's a fast game out there.

Q: You've spent a lot of time with the guys in that locker room this season. Which one of your Panthers teammates do you think you're going to miss seeing the most on a regular basis throughout the summer?

VATRANO: I'm sure the group message will be going a lot this summer. It's a blast going to the rink every day with these guys. It's a really great bunch of guys. I'm going to miss all of them, so hopefully the summer goes by fast.

Q: What's the biggest non-hockey event currently on your schedule this summer?

VATRANO: I'll probably play some golf. That's probably the biggest thing for me. My golf game might go down a bit because of going to Worlds, but usually I play pretty well.

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