Although the Panthers brought in five veterans over the past week to take the spots of several highly touted young prospects they still have six players who range from 18 to 23 years old. And two of those young players Jonathan Huberdeau 20 and Aleksander Barkov who just turned 18 and is a new driver will start the season on the same top line along with veteran winger Brad Boyes. Boyes 31 has 168 goals in 606 games including a 43-goal season in 2007-08. "It's exciting to see that'' Panthers General Manager Dale Tallon said after watching practice Tuesday morning. "Give it a shot. Why not? They're the cornerstone of our franchise down the road.'' Skill is the word commonly associated with Huberdeau the reigning Calder Cup Trophy winner and Barkov the No. 2 pick who's on every Rookie of the Year watch list. Panthers coach Kevin Dineen believes Huberdeau has just scratched the surface of his potential with 31 points in 48 games all while playing on a damaged hip that required surgery after the season. "Jonathan has proved his potential as a top-tier player in this league and Sasha [Barkov] has the potential for that but it's a little premature'' Dineen said. "Coming from Europe he's a young guy who just had his 18th birthday so he's comparable to people his own age. "The reality is he's playing in a league full of men and he needs to be up to speed and understand the complete level you see night in and night out. "[Huberdeau] has to understand teams will prepare for him they'll have scouted him know his tendencies. He's got to continue to expand his game and he's done a good job doing that developing himself physically.'' The 6-foot-3 Barkov who like his road roommate spent most of the summer recovering from surgery (to his shoulder) has impressed his teammates with his ice vision and passing skills. "I can play at this level for a couple of shifts but I have to play every shift the best I can'' Barkov said. "I think I'm now 50 to 60 percent of my best.'' Huberdeau is excited to play with Barkov. "[Barkov] is going to be a great player and I'm glad we can start the season together'' he said. "We'll see what's going to happen.''
Panthers' boys and Boyes form top line
Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel | Oct 1