CORAL SPRINGS — Alex True finds himself surrounded by some very familiar faces in his first training camp with the Florida Panthers.
True led Florida’s AHL affiliate in scoring after being selected by the Seattle Kraken in the 2021 Expansion Draft.
The Panthers shared the Charlotte Checkers with the Kraken in their inaugural season and in turn, True served as a veteran leader.
Splitting time between Seattle’s NHL squad and the Checkers, he finished the AHL season with 42 points (18 goals, 24 assists) and added seven points (three goals, four assists) in seven playoff games.
“It’s great,” True said of his reunion with his former teammates.
”We had a great bond down in Charlotte when I was there, so it was good to reconnect with some of the guys that are still here form that time. It was really fun.”
That sense of familiarity helped make True’s decision on where to go for his NHL shot a little bit easier.
The 26-year-old got to a peak of how Florida ran its organization in his time with the Checkers and thought it would be a good landing spot to take the next step in his career.
He has had a peak at the attention to detail that both the coaching staff and management put into each level of the organization and knew that it could help him get to the next level.
“I just have to do what I can control and work hard every day,” True said.
”I need to get better every day, do my best every day and see where we’re going to go.”
With the Panthers dressing a roster full of AHL-seasoned players fighting for NHL roster spots in their next two preseason games, True is just another familiar face for them to gel with.
But it is a two-way street as the 6-foot-5, 213-pound forward looks for his first shot in the big show.
”It is important for him and the players around him,” Florida coach Paul Maurice said.
“When you come to camp and you have a connection with people, it makes it easier. A big part of what new people do at training camp is burn energy on the newness. So, anything that can make a guy a little more comfortable is a good thing.
”But also, the more guys that are trying to go for jobs that have played in the NHL, the better it is for our organization. We have more options and more competition.”
True has had a taste of NHL action but is vying to get his first true long look.
He has played in just 27 games so far — the most being a 12-game stint with the San Jose Sharks in his first NHL season — netting five assists in the process.
At this point, he has seen bits and pieces of what it takes to get there and the coaching staff is giving him a long look for a potential spot on the fourth line.
FLORIDA PANTHERS PRESEASON GAME 4 ROSTER
FLORIDA PANTHERS (2-1) ON DECK
PRESEASON VS CAROLINA HURRICANES (2-0)
- When: Friday, 6 p.m.
- Where: Amerant Bank Arena, Sunrise
- TV/Radio: None
- Streaming: FloridaPanthers.com
- Previous Exhibition Games: Florida 5, Nashville 0 (Sept. 25); Florida 5, Nashville 2 (Sept. 25); Carolina 4, Florida 1 (Sept. 27)
LOOKING AHEAD FOR THE PANTHERS
- Sunday: Preseason vs. Ottawa at Sydney, Nova Scotia; 4 p.m. (NHLN)
- Tuesday: Preseason vs. Tampa Bay at Orlando Arena, 7 p.m.
- Thursday: Preseason at Tampa Bay, 7 p.m.
- Saturday, Oct. 7: Preseason vs. Tampa Bay, 6 p.m.
- Oct. 12: Start of 2023-24 Regular Season at Minnesota Wild (BSF)
- Oct. 19: 2023-24 Home Opener vs. Toronto Maple Leafs (BSF)