On June 23, 2017, the Florida Panthers drafted a young redhead forward by the name of Owen Tippett with their 10th overall pick. He proceeded to play in seven games in his first NHL season that same year, but soon was relegated to the Springfield Thunderbirds in the AHL for further development. During his two years there, he piled up 75 points (39 goals, 36 assists) through 74 games, averaging more than a point a game. Due to his success, he got another shot to crack the lineup this season after being sent down the previous two seasons. However, he was met with more problems during his second NHL stint.
While he managed to make it through training camp this past offseason, his early struggles caused him to get sent to the taxi squad multiple times this season. Furthermore, he was also scratched multiple times while he was on the main roster.
Through his first 15 games, he only managed one goal and a pair of assists. This is not a good look for someone who was selected 10th overall as fans began to think he was going to be a first-round bust. However, he managed to turn it around and finally find his game.
Tippett Finds Success
Through his last five games, he’s scored three goals and assisted on one. Two of those goals were on the power play, where his incredible sniping ability can be used at its full potential with loads of real estate near the faceoff dot. With this, he has seven points (four goals, three assists) so far on the 2021 campaign. Furthermore, his speed has been crucial in setting up big plays and giving clean zone entries to his line partners in Eetu Luostarinen and Frank Vatrano.
During a potential playoff run, his recent success comes at a much-needed time. Head coach Joel Quenneville has done an amazing job at helping him find his forte after it looked as if he was a bust.
Is it Enough to Replace Hoffman?
While Florida has found offensive success throughout the lineup with players like Patric Hornqvist, fans and speculators saw Tippett as the replacement for Mike Hoffman, as their playstyles are similar. For two straight seasons with Florida, Hoffman was the leading goal-scorer with 36 in the 2018-19 season and 29 in 2019-20.
While it is yet to be proven quite just yet, a bit further development should give Tippett that extra push he needs to find that type of goal scoring.
What’s Next for “Ginger Snipes”?
With another shot given to the 22-year-old, he managed to find his game and get the ball rolling for the Cats offensively. As previously mentioned, Tippett is currently plugged into the third line with Luostarinen and Vatrano. Furthermore, he is on the second power-play unit, where he has found the back of the net multiple times. If he continues his success, he might find himself blossoming as a top-six sniping winger for the team for years to come. With the recent success of the team, a playoff berth is likely for the Panthers – that’s where Tippett will experience the toughest hockey of his career to push his development. For him to hit that next stride, he’s going to need to get his feet wet in playoff hockey.
In addition, he’s going to learn valuable tips from the players on the active roster such as forward Jonathan Huberdeau and captain Aleksander Barkov and players from the taxi squad like forward Brett Connolly. With those lessons, his development will help him flourish as a strong forward, and hopefully, general manager Bill Zito has a contract waiting for him when he hits that goal.
My name is Joey. I’ve been writing about the NHL for about 3 years with my experience spread out between TSJ 101 Sports and Panther Parkway. I look forward to you reading my articles!