Just as some predicted, the Florida Panthers will keep their 2017 first-round pick Owen Tippett on their roster. The team made their final three roster cuts this morning to put the team at 23 players, ready for the start of the season. Whether Tippett stays on the roster is another question as the team is allowed to play him nine games before it burns a year off his entry-level contract. They could choose to send him back to his junior team if he isn’t progressing after those nine games.
While Tippett making the team was not too surprising, he didn’t blow the team away offensively as he only picked up one assist in four preseason games. However, according to Matthew DeFranks of the Sun Sentinel, head coach Bob Boughner said the 18-year-old had little things to work such as how to play without the puck. Once, he figures that out, Boughner said his game will take off.
“Obviously, after nine games, it’s a big decision but we’re not looking at spreading his games out or anything like that,” Boughner said. “If he plays well, he’s going to stay in and he’s going to play.”
The team has made it clear this year they will be focusing on fast, young players and Tippett fulfills that notion. The team also kept 2014 first-rounder Jared McCann, who they picked up in a trade more than a year ago, 25-year-old Connor Brickley and 20-year-old Denis Malgin on their opening day roster.
- Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News writes that Buffalo Sabres free agent signee Seth Griffith has not just made the team, but is currently practicing with Jack Eichel and Evander Kane on the first line. Whether that holds up is unknown, but the 24-year-old journeyman who played for three different teams last year, has impressed Buffalo management. “His attitude is infectious,” head coach Phil Housley said. “He’s got to play like he has been the last two games. He has to be up in the forecheck. I know he’s a smaller guy but he finds way to get pucks and win puck battles.”
- As if the Vegas Golden Knights didn’t already have too many defensemen to worry about, they have another problem, as 29-year-old minor league veteran Brad Hunt has played impressively well and there is growing fear the team could lose him if they put him on waivers, according to David Schoen of The Las Vegas Review-Journal. Few believed that Hunt would make the Golden Knights’ roster, but he leads the team in points (one goal, five assists) and may force Vegas to make another critical decision. Hunt has played 33 NHL games for three different franchises (not including Vegas).