The Panthers wrapped up the first portion of the scouting combine, finishing four days of draft eligible player interviews Thursday afternoon. It was an extremely enjoyable process for Florida GM Dale Tallon and the rest of the Cats hockey operations staff.
"This year I think it's the best group of kids we've ever interviewed as far as honesty and self evaluation, personality," said Tallon. "It goes with the fact that this is a really deep draft so not only are there good players but we got some great personalities and some great character."
Scouts and numerous draft pundits have claimed this to be an extremely deep draft, one of the deepest in a while. With that, it's no surprise that the players that peeked Florida's interest to warrant an interview have all been up to all of the Panthers questions during the interviews.
What Tallon and the Panthers brass have been equally impressed about has been the player's self awareness on their games and their strengths and weaknesses.
"They've been very, very honest and very good at evaluating themselves," said Tallon. "Very realistic about their abilities so that really helps the process because you don't really have to break them down."
And when you don't have to do that, then the Panthers brass can just focus on who would make a good addition to an already deep prospect pool. The pool that is considered among the top in the league with the likes of forwards Nick Bjugstad, Quinton Howden, Vincent Trocheck and Rocco Grimaldi along with blueliners Alex Petrovic, Colby Robak and last year's top choice Mike Matheson (23rd overall).
"They already have a good idea of what their strengths and weaknesses are and that really is half the battle," said Tallon. "If they're able to realize it sooner rather than later then it makes it easier for us to make a decision on them whether they fit our profile and fit our needs as far as our depth chart."