While the Panthers appear to be in the rebuilding phase, Rochester American’s goaltender, Tyler Plante was named the Reebok/AHL Player of the Week for the period ending February 7th, 2011. And what a hot week it was for the Panther’s 2005 second round pick. Plante finished the week with a 4-0-1 record with one shutout. He had an impressive .945 save percentage, stopping 156 of 165 shots. He made 27, 31, and 41 saves over Manitoba, Binghamton, and Syracuse respectively. Plante is a 4th year pro. For the year, his 13 victories and 1 shut out are a new AHL career high.
Tyler comes from a hockey family. His father, Cam Plante, holds the Western Hockey League record for points in a season by a defenceman. He scored 140 points, while playing for the Brandon Wheat Kingss in the 1983-1984 WHL season. He also spent two games in the NHL with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
His brother, Alex Plante is currently a prospect with the Edmonton Oilers.
The timing of the announcement coincides with the return of Dale Tallon’s former team and defending Stanley Cup Champions, visit to South Florida. In a thrilling game, the Panthers jumped out to an early 3-0 lead. The defending Champs looked like a boxer on the ropes through the first period. However, it wasn’t long before their 29-7 shots on goal in the 2nd and 3rd periods made it look like another Panther’s blown lead was inevitable.
While we’re talking about rookies, the Panthers had six AHL regulars in last night’s lineup. Goal tender, Tomas Vokoun later said “It’s tougher with the players we have left…some of the older players here have been through that at other times…we have young players and it can get scrambly when a team like that puts the pressure on you. It’s a learning experience for a lot of those guys. Now they know they can do it, they know they can hold off the best team in the league. Hopefully it gives us confidence going into future games.”
The Panthers ended up snapping a five game losing streak, while putting an end to the Blackhawk’s eight game winning streak…while playing with a line-up of up and comers.
So, while sticking to Tallon’s blueprint for success, the Panther’s appear to be in position for grabbing some talent with their available budget (some $40 million plus), their ten selections in the 2011 NHL draft, and upcoming contract negotiations with current goal tender Tomas Vokoun.
While previously skeptical of the whole “blueprint” sales pitch, I’m starting to become more and more optimistic about the Panther’s future when hearing about the upcoming talent!
So, is Plante the answer that we’ve been waiting for? While Vokoun is considered a “world class” goaltender, the Panthers seem to have a history of talent in this position…Roberto Luongo, John Vanbiesbrouk, and others who are now top goaltenders in the league.
All in all, it’s exciting to see that Dale Tallon has stuck by his word….”We followed our blueprint to the letter.” The team clearly seems to be in a rebuilding period. While this seems to be a familiar message, it’s nice to see that our upcoming talent is paying off.