Florida Panthers

Panthers’ development camp not all about just hockey

Lawson Crouse, selected No. 11 in the first round of the draft, will take part in this week’s camp.
Lawson Crouse, selected No. 11 in the first round of the draft, will take part in this week’s camp. Getty Images

The Panthers will get their first look at some of their newest acquisitions starting Monday in Coral Springs.

Florida’s development camp comes just a few days after the NHL Draft was held in Sunrise.

Those who were drafted by the Panthers and in attendance — such as top pick Lawson Crouse — stayed around town and will participate.

The development camp, which general manager Dale Tallon has limited to first-year professional players such as Rocco Grimaldi and below, begins Monday morning at 11 at the Coral Springs IceDen.

Admission is free.

“This is a great time of year,” Tallon said. “I love the draft, I love getting to know these kids.

“They’re kind of rigid and nervous at the combine because they have 30 teams asking them stupid questions every half hour. Now, you get them one-on-one in a relaxed setting. They let their guards down and surprise you.”

The camp isn’t just about hockey, either.

Although the four-day camp will feature three days of on-ice work, the young Panthers will also have a beach-training session and a trip to Marlins Park to enjoy Souuth Florida.

“These are the guys they’re going to grow up with, the guys they will play with,” Tallon said. “They need to get to know each other. It’s an indoctrination camp, really.”

All but two of Florida’s eight draft picks will partake in the session.

Swiss center Denis Malgin whom Tallon said was “the biggest sleeper in the draft” remains in Europe; goalie Ryan Bednard is also not on the camp roster.

Aside from the draftees, Florida will also include a number of its top prospects from its deep system.

Grimaldi, who played in seven games for the Panthers, is one of Florida’s young players who will be gunning for a roster spot when training camp opens in September.

Defenseman Mike Matheson will, as well.

Matheson will be at his first Panthers’ camp after spending the past three seasons at Boston College. Considered the Panthers’ top prospect the past few years, Matheson is expected to start the season at AHL Portland, but a strong showing could put him in Sunrise.

“We like to play our young players,” coach Gerard Gallant said. “We’ll see how it goes.”

Said Tallon: “We have young guys who we’re going to give the opportunity to make our team — some of the guys who were in San Antonio, and some of the guys we drafted this year or two years ago. Inner-competition is key. We’re going to be younger, we’re going to be faster.’’

▪ Tallon said he met with Allan Walsh, the agent for Jonathan Huberdeau, until midnight on Friday talking about a new contract. Huberdeau is a restricted free agent.

“I think we’ll get this down very shortly,” Tallon said. “We’re very close on getting something done. I don’t see any problems.”

Development camp

When: Monday through Thursday.

Where: Florida Panthers IceDen, Coral Springs.

Admission: Free.

On-ice schedule: Monday: 11-12:30 p.m.; Tuesday: Off; Wednesday: 9:30-11 a.m.; Thursday: 9-11 a.m.

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