Panthers sign Bruce Graham


Panthers sent a message of intent to the rest of the Elite League this evening, particularly their Southern Conference rivals, with the signing of 6 foot 6 inch power forward Bruce Graham. Drafted 51st overall by the New York Rangers in 2004 and still only 26 years old, Graham comes with a wealth of experience in the North American minor leagues having played at AHL (60 games), ECHL (219 games) & CHL (207 games) level.

Excepting a two game stint with Lake Erie Monsters in the AHL, Graham has spent the past three seasons with the CHL’s Allen Americans, scoring 109+142 for 251 points, 244 PIMs & a +/- of +58 in regular season & play-off games (Full Elite Prospects Stats). With those sort of numbers I think it’s fair to say that Graham will be amongst the points. He can also look after himself and his team-mates as the below video shows when he said Happy New Year to Kyle Bruce on New Year’s Eve 2009!

Bruce has also won some impressive accolades during his CHL career. He has made the CHL all-star team in each of the last three seasons and was also voted the league’s best power forward last season.

Panthers coach Corey Neilson said of his penultimate import forward signing “You don’t come across six feet six inch tall centres very often. Jordan Fox has played with him, and I’ve been looking at him for a few years. Now we’ve got him. He’s is just a handful, he’s a massive, massive man, silky soft hands, he has good vision and is very smooth in what he does. Bruce will be one of those players that opponents will find it very difficult to get the puck off. He’s a left-handed centre-man which fits the bill for us too. When a guy is as gifted as he is and you combine that with his size it will become a mismatch for opposing players.”

I have to say I am mightily impressed with Graham’s capture and can see him having a major impact on the Elite League. He is exactly what the team needs in my opinion, a big powerful forward who scores points and isn’t afraid to get his nose dirty. I’m very much looking forward to seeing him in action when the season gets underway, this is exactly the type of player that the Elite League needs to excite the fans.

Rumours are that Belfast were also trying to tempt him, so it is a major coup that we have secured his signature in light of competition from one of our main rivals.

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