The Florida Panthers will be back on the ice — sort of — starting this afternoon when they open development camp in Coral Springs.
For the first time since the pandemic, the sessions will be free and open to the public.
The big news going into camp is the return of Spencer Knight who had to get special permission from the NHL to participate as he has too much NHL experience and is no longer on his entry level contract.
But, since he has been away from the team since entering the players’ assistance program in February, Knight was given special consideration to get back on the ice this week.
Aside from Knight, Mackie Samoskevich — Florida’s top draft pick in 2021 — will be in attendance.
Samoskevich left the University of Michigan after his sophomore season to join the Charlotte Checkers for the AHL playoffs and then signed his ELC with the Panthers and practiced with the team during the postseason.
Mike Benning, who also left college to sign with the Panthers, will not participate.
A couple members of Florida’s draft class of 2023 will also participate this week including top pick Gracyn Sawchyn whom the Panthers took with the 63rd overall pick last month in Nashville.
The groups will be split in two and have two practice sessions per day starting this afternoon at 2:45.
The two teams will conclude camp on Friday with a scrimmage.
“It’s a great exercise to get to know the players,” GM Bill Zito said, “sort of teach and instruct from our standpoint. It’s not a competitive, evaluative period as much as it is a teaching opportunity. We’re excited.”
PANTHERS DEVELOPMENT CAMP SCHEDULE
(Open to the public at Coral Springs IceDen)
- Today: Group A 2:45-3:45; Group B 4-5
- Tuesday: Group B 9:30-10:30; Group A 10:45-11:45
- Wednesday: Group A 9:30-10:30; Group B 10:45-11:45
- Thursday: Group B 9:30-10:30; Group A 10:45-11:45
- Friday: Group A vs. Group B 10-11
FLORIDA PANTHERS ON DECK
- Now: Free agency period is open
- Today-Friday: Development camp, Coral Springs
- Mid-September: Training Camp, South Florida
- Sept. 25: Preseason starts; Doubleheader v. Nashville @ Sunrise
- Oct. 7: Preseason ends; v. Tampa Bay Lightning @ Sunrise
- Oct. 12: Start of 2023-24 Regular Season at Minnesota Wild
- Oct. 19: 2023-24 Home Opener vs. Toronto Maple Leafs