Top prospect Henrik Borgstrom is set to make his NHL debut tomorrow night in Ottawa. Borgstrom has held the ranking of the Panthers #1 prospect for the whole year here at The Puck Under the Sun. A surprise off the board pick in the 2016 1st round, Borgstrom has been lighting it up at Denver. His honors include winning the College Rookie of the Year, this year’s NCHC Player of the Year and a Top 10 finalist this year for the Hobey Baker Award. Borgstrom signed his ELC Monday, 24 hours after Denver was eliminated in the second round of the NCAA Hockey Playoffs. Borgstrom will likely slide into the 3rd line center role and finish the year splitting time there with Jared McCann. The Finn is expected to be the next great Finnish player in the NHL and join Patrik Laine, Sebastian Aho (Carolina) and teammate Aleksander Barkov as the ambassadors of Finnish hockey.
Are all of these scares taking a toll on Trocheck?
Almost every game in the second half of the season has seen a scare for 2nd line center Vincent Trocheck. The 2nd line center has left the ice numerous times this year to be inspected by the training staff, only to return to the ice moments later. Trocheck is the heart and soul of this team and is a fan favorite for the next captain. This year he has scored a career high 30 goals. If the Panthers lose Trocheck, they are in serious trouble. However some have to wonder if all of these scares are taking a toll on him. Trocheck has missed a couple of practices and today’s morning skate recently. Boughner called these absences “maintenance days”. However a healthy player wouldn’t need that many maintenance days. Hopefully I’m just Chicken Little here, but I would be monitoring Trocheck’s playing time if I were Bob Boughner.
Mascherin refuses to sign
Another top prospect, Adam Mascherin has reportedly notified the Panthers that he will not sign with the club before the June 1st deadline. Mascherin will either be traded to a team that will sign him but it is more likely he reenters the draft. According to Elliotte Friedman, there was a lot of miscommunication between the camps which resulted in this mess. Hopefully both sides can reconcile however this seems very unlikely.
Hurricanes blow lead, Devils win again
The incompetent Carolina Hurricanes blew a 3-2 lead to the Devils last night and lost 4-3. The Devils remain 3 points ahead of the Panthers with 2 games in hand. However both teams are nearing the Flyers and Blue Jackets. While the red hot Blue Jackets will most likely make the playoffs, the Flyers have struggled, losing in overtime to a Dallas Stars team that hadn’t won in 3 weeks last night. While it is very likely the Devils will lose at least one game, so will the Panthers. That means that the chase will stay the same. If the Flyers can drop off, then both teams can squeeze into the playoffs. This will be a very interesting next couple weeks, as all of the Panthers competitors have easy schedules, while the Panthers have to play 5 playoff teams. If Toronto beats Florida and Philadelphia loses to Colorado in regulation, then Toronto will clinch a berth. Vegas is betting a line of -140 in favor of Toronto tonight.