Penultimate Signing is Eric Werner

Panthers are just one player short of a complete squad as they have tonight announced that their third import defenceman for the 2012/13 season will be 5 foot 9 inch American Eric Werner, who joins the Panthers from Italian 2nd tier side HC Neumarkt Egna. The 29 year old comes to Panthers with a decent pedigree having played 89 games in the AHL with Manchester Monarchs, 108 games in the ECHL with Reading Royals, as well as spells in Germany’s DEL, Austria’s EBEL & Finland’s SM-Liga.
As I can only judge on stats he looks to be very much stay at home but does seem to bag a few points for himself. His penalty minutes are also on the low side suggesting that he doesn’t get much involved in any rough stuff.

The only opinion I can find on him is from Elite Prospects, where Swedish sports writer Matias Strozyk says of him “A small left-handed defenceman with good skating and a decent eye for the game. Doesn’t have the best shot and isn’t very offensive.”
Not too worried about his shooting to be honest, as long as he defends well I’ll be happy!

Coach Corey Neilson said of his latest capture “Everything I hear about Eric fits the bill for us. He was more of an offensive D man during his time in the AHL but then switched to concentrating on defensive duties especially during recent seasons across Europe. He played for former Newcastle chief Rob Wilson in Italy last year and he has only added to the accolades.
He might not be the biggest at five feet ten but he makes game turning centre ice hits and very much takes care of business in his own end. He rarely if ever gets beat one on one and he moves the puck up to the forwards very well. He’s a great skater with super mobility.”
Neilson revealed he has had Werner on his radar for the Panthers for three summers now and the player had chosen to join Panthers this year despite strong interest from other teams in the Elite League not least one or two of our biggest rivals.”

I have to say that with one signing left to go I am a little concerned about the amount of toughness in the team so far, especially when you look at some of the other signings around the Southern Conference. While we do have players who can look after and stand up for themselves, I’m worried that we don’t have someone who is willing to drop the gloves when necessary. Obviously if we re-sign Gui Lepine or a player very much like him as our final defenceman than my fears will be eased somewhat. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not looking for an out and out enforcer in the Alex Penner mould, just someone who can step up to the plate when the situation arises.

However, that should not take anything away from Werner’s signing, who looks a very decent acquisition to the squad who will do a job for us.

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