NHL Prospect Watch – Florida Panthers
In the lead-up to the 2023-24 NHL season, we’re taking a look at the current and former WHL talent in each NHL Club’s prospect pool. In this 32-part series, we’ll highlight the WHL players signed to an NHL contract or recently drafted, 25 years of age or younger with 50 or fewer NHL games played. Join us for a brand-new season of NHL Prospect Watch!
We continue with the prospect pool of the Florida Panthers.
A third-round pick by the Florida Panthers in the 2022 NHL Draft, defenceman Marek Alscher signed an entry-level contract with the NHL Club in March of this year. The Czech defenceman set career bests in 2022-23 with the Portland Winterhawks, scoring eight times and totalling 24 points in 60 regular season games. During the playoffs, Alscher added four assists as Portland reached the Second Round for the second year running. The 19-year-old has accrued 40 points over his two WHL seasons with the Winterhawks since being selected in the 2021 CHL Import Draft.
Cats prospects 🤝🏼 @pdxwinterhawks teammates
Drafted together in 2022, Josh Davies & Marek Alscher can't wait to team up this year in Portland 📝
— Florida Panthers (@FlaPanthers) September 16, 2023
Forward Josh Davies was part of a block-buster trade in the WHL this summer, moving West from the Swift Current Broncos to the Portland Winterhawks. In 2022-23, Davies recorded his first 20-goal season of his three-year WHL career, totalling 34 points for the Broncos before making his professional debut with the Charlotte Checkers of the AHL. Davies, who hails from Airdrie, Alta., was selected by Florida in the sixth round of the 2022 NHL Draft. In three WHL seasons, Davies has appeared in 149 regular season games, amassing 42 goals and 79 points.
— Portland Winterhawks (@pdxwinterhawks) September 16, 2023
A former Portland Winterhawks captain, defenceman John Ludvig played in 54 games for the AHL’s Charlotte Checkers in 2022-23 after missing almost the entire 2021-22 campaign. During the regular season Ludvig, who hails from Kamloops, B.C., scored three times and put up 17 points, adding two more assists for the Checkers in seven post-season outings. Originally selected by the Florida Panthers in the third round of the 2019 NHL Draft, Ludvig spent each of his three WHL seasons with Portland from 2017-18 through 2019-20. In his final campaign, Ludvig scored 17 goals and totalled 62 points for the Winterhawks and was named to the WHL Western Conference First All-Star Team.
We have agreed to terms with defenseman John Ludvig on a two-year, two-way contract.
— Florida Panthers (@FlaPanthers) July 17, 2023
Seattle Thunderbirds forward Gracyn Sawchyn was selected by the Florida Panthers in the second round of the 2023 NHL Draft. In his first WHL season, Sawchyn scored 18 goals and collected 58 points in 58 regular season games, then led all WHL rookies in playoff scoring with 11 points as the Thunderbirds claimed the WHL Championship. The product of Grande Prairie, Alta. capped off a memorable 2022-23 campaign with five games at the 2023 Memorial Cup in Kamloops, helping Seattle reach the final for the first time in Club history. Sawchyn was the first-ever player selected in the WHL U.S. Priority Draft and joined the Thunderbirds ahead of the 2022-23 season after spending time with the U.S. National Team Development Program.
POV you’re Gracyn Sawchyn and you just got drafted by the Florida Panthers 🤝 pic.twitter.com/FP24xzIw2S
— Florida Panthers (@FlaPanthers) June 30, 2023
A WHL Champion with the Edmonton Oil Kings in 2022, forward Justin Sourdif completed his first season of professional hockey in the Florida Panthers organization in 2022-23, collecting 24 points (7G-17A) at AHL Charlotte. With the Checkers, Sourdif added a goal and an assist in six playoff games after appearing in 43 playoff contests over the course of his WHL career. Sourdif spent parts of five seasons in the WHL beginning with the Vancouver Giants, with whom he helped reach the WHL Championship Series in 2019. On three occasions, the product of Richmond, B.C. scored 23 or more goals in the WHL including a pair of 26-goal campaigns, the latest coming in 2021-22 which he split between the Giants and Oil Kings. Sourdif capped off his junior hockey career with two assists from three contests at the 2022 Memorial Cup in Saint John, N.B. He was selected by the Florida Panthers in the third round of the 2020 NHL Draft.
— American Hockey League (@TheAHL) November 27, 2022