Panthers make first wave of 2017 training camp roster cuts

Image courtesy of @turbuL3NT2 / COTP Photography

The Panthers announced on Wednesday afternoon their first wave of training camp roster cuts.

Ten cuts were made in total while newly-acquired Jamie McGinn was added, bringing the player count to 42.

As expected, forwards Jonathan Ang and Aleksi Heponiemi, and defenseman Riley Stillman will return to their respective junior squads.

Ang, a member of the OHL’s Peterborough Petes and a 2016 4th-round draft pick of the Panthers, is set to begin his fourth season after totaling a career-high 59 points while shifting to the right wing last year. The Petes aren’t a particularly high-scoring team, but he plays an important role in their top-6 as well as on their penalty kill.

He recorded two assists, both on goals by Connor Brickley, while playing 11:51 during the first game of Tuesday’s preseason doubleheader.

Heponiemi is returning to the Swift Current Broncos for his second season in the WHL as the league’s reigning Rookie of the Year. He posted 86 goals in 72 games, placing him second in the league in points among all under-18 players.

Stillman, a 6’1″, 190-pound defender and assistant captain with the OHL’s Oshawa Generals, is headed into his third season of junior hockey.

The 19-year old also put up career numbers in his second campaign, recording 11 goals and 22 assists for 33 points in 62 games, including his first career OHL hat-trick in the final game of the regular season.

Forwards Matt Buckles, Francois Beauchemin, Ryan Horvat, Anthony Greco, Blaine Byron, defenseman Matt MacKenzie, and goaltender Evan Cowley were all released from their training camp try-outs.

They’ll now attend the camp for the Panthers’ AHL affiliate, the Springfield Thunderbirds, which opens later this week.

The Panthers face the Tampa Bay Lightning on Sunday at Amalie Arena at 4:00 PM for their third game of the preseason.

Update, 9/21/17:

The Panthers announced on Thursday that in addition to Wednesday’s roster cuts, 20-year old defenseman Thomas Schemitsch and 23-year old free-agent signing Curtis Valk have been released from training camp and will instead attend the Thunderbirds’ camp, which opens Friday.

Schemitsch is vying for a full-time spot on the Thunderbirds’ blue line after a 2016-17 season split between the AHL and ECHL.

Valk figures to play in the top-6 after having a breakout, 46-point campaign last year with the AHL affiliate of the Vancouver Canucks.

Trocheck injury update

Vincent Trocheck did not return to the second game of the Panthers’ doubleheader on Tuesday after suffering an upper-body injury late in the 1st period.

“I don’t think it’s anything serious,” said head coach Bob Boughner on Wednesday in a radio interview with the Joe Rose Show. “He’s gonna get re-evaluated today but I expect him back for practice in the next couple days.”

Trocheck scored the game’s first goal with a five-hole wrist shot on Pekka Rinne and logged just 6:49 of ice time on a line with Evgenii Dadonov and Brandon Pirri.

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