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Can Justin Sourdif Make the Florida Panthers? Absolutely

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After missing all of training camp last season, Florida Panthers forward Justin Sourdif is ready for a strong showing when the Panthers open up on Thursday. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

ESTERO, Fla. — Justin Sourdif did not get to leave any sort of impression on the new Florida Panthers coaching staff at training camp last year.

Sourdif had been considered one of the best prospects in the Florida system and, following a standout junior career, there was some excitement to see how he would fare when getting a chance at a spot on the roster.

Only Sourdif sustained a concussion while playing in the Rookie Showcase in Raleigh, making him unavailable to play until October.

“You can’t be tentative when you play,’’ he said after playing in the opener of this year’s showcase on Friday night, “but getting hurt before camp has definitely been in the back of my mind. I got hurt the past two years in the rookie tournament. Here I am, trying to play my best hockey and worrying about getting hurt.”

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As long as Sourdif is, indeed, able to stay healthy following Monday’s finale in Estero, he should get his chance to compete at camp come Thursday.

Although the Panthers are not expected to have many empty spots when it comes to their opening roster, Sourdif is going to have a shot at one of them.

The Panthers say they are going to play their best players — and Sourdif is ready to prove he is one of them.

“What a wonderful prospect he is,” Charlotte Checkers coach Geordie Kinnear said.

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