Triple Return for Panthers

Recruitment for the 2014/15 season started in earnest this past Friday as the first of two press releases confirmed the return of Brandon Benedict & Tom Norton and later the return of Robert Farmer.

Brandon Benedict is a massive re-signing as he returns to Panthers for a fourth consecutive season. It is an often used cliche at many clubs but he is the heartbeat of the team, a player who never gives anything less than 100% every time he is on the ice.
After two relatively injury free seasons, Benedict missed several games this term and has absence on the ice was obvious as the team missed the spark that he gives them. While one man doesn’t make a team a fit Benedict gives the Panthers a chance every single night, for me it was essential he re-signed and I’m very glad he has.

Tom Norton has deservedly been given the chance to carry on his improvement as a full-time pro. He benefitted from extra ice-time and responsibility last season and has earned a new contract as far as I’m concerned. He’s never going to be a flashy defenceman who bursts into the offensive zone, however he does the simple things well and has the confidence to direct his team-mates in the defensive zone. He is another player I am very pleased to see back.

Finally, Robert Farmer returns to his home town club for a second season after joining part way through this campaign from Alaska Aces of the ECHL. I’m a big fan of Farmer, great hands, great passing and very skilful, but what I particularly like about him is his willingness to protect his team-mates. Any time Neil Conway or Craig Kowalski were threatened while he was on the ice he would be straight in there standing up for them. Thankfully he seems to have grown out of his need to drop the gloves every five minutes while at Coventry and has matured into an excellent hockey player.
I think he is vastly underrated in this league and I expect him to be a very important part of Corey Neilson’s squad next season.

All three join Craig Kowalski & David Clarke as confirmed for the 2014/15 season, however there is a slight worry that Robert Lachowicz isn’t mentioned in either press release despite being on a two-year deal. Hopefully this is just an oversight and he will take his place in the squad next season.

It has been a good start to recruitment by the Panthers, hopefully there will be more to follow in the coming weeks.


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