5 Panthers Standouts Of The Season So Far

The 2023/24 season for the Nottingham Panthers has been filled with emotion and many highs and lows. The death of Adam Johnson rocked the city of Nottingham and since the results haven’t fell in favour of the Panthers. Despite, the understandable poor run of form there a plenty of positives to take from this season. Below, I give my top 5 standouts from the 2023/24 season.  

Tyler Welsh 

Tyler Welsh was an early signing for Jonathan Parades with the 26-year-old being the third new import signing under the new regime. Interestingly, Welsh would be the only signing Parades would make who played in France the season before (Jonathan Parades’ home country and where he coached last season). Tyler came from Mulhouse in Ligue Magnus where Parades broke down his game by saying ‘Tyler has a super high compete every shift and has good speed’. This is certainly true and one of reasons he is making this standout list. Welsh gives his all every single shift and is always the first one going forward and the first one back-checking too. Welsh quickly cemented himself as a fan favourite with his work ethic and commitment. Although, the scoring numbers aren’t quite there yet the underlying statistics are extremely positive. Tyler Welsh currently ranks 5th in terms of Panthers’ forward in terms of even strength shots and 3rd for expected goals. Obviously, these are great offensive numbers but what impresses me about Welsh is his defensive numbers. Tyler Welsh has the 3rd lowest shots against and expected goals against on the team. Not only is Welsh one of the best offensive players on team, but he is also one of them best defensive players. A great season so far for Tyler Welsh. 

Logan Neilson 

It would be impossible for me to praise Tyler Welsh without mentioning the role Logan Neilson has played in this success, and his overall play this season. Logan Neilson has had hockey success in his family for many years. His father, Corey, is a Panthers legend who has won six challenges cups, four playoff titles and one league title and his older brother, Cade, has won a D1A gold medal with Great Britian and finished second in scoring on a stacked British roster. Many fans were ecstatic seeing another Neilson in black and gold but hesitant as most 20-year-olds don’t make an impact in the EIHL. Neilson has built great chemistry with his teammates, Tyler Welsh and Jordan Kelsall, and has been a huge part of the most consistent line Panthers have had this season. Logan Neilson has the joint lead of under 24 scoring despite only just turning 21 years old. Neilson also has a very efficient shot as he is 3rd on the Panthers team for shots on goal rate (8.2 shots on goal if calculated at a per 60 mins rate). He also averages 3.8 hits at the same per 60 rates. As a 20-year-old playing in the EIHL, Neilson is enjoying a tremendous rookie season and given the circumstances around the Panthers this year, for a 20-year-old to have to deal with this shows an incredible amount of strength. 

Hugo Roy

Hugo Roy is a dual threat playmaker and shooter who possesses great speed and has been a fantastic player for the Panthers so far this season. Head coach Parades must have been happy when recruiting Hugo as he came from Kansas in the East Coast Hockey League where he scored 18 goals and finished second in scoring for the Mavericks. Parades said this when he announced the signing of Hugo “He’s a player that has really developed his offensive game in the past few years and we feel we are getting him at a great time in his career.” Hugo has been exceptional since moving over to Nottingham as he currently has 12 goals and 13 assists and leagues the Panthers in total points. His skating, shot, passing and intelligence is all superb and the chemistry he had built with Otto Nieminen has been a real bright spark for the Nottingham Panthers. Hugo Roy has obviously been outstanding for the Panthers, but he also owns a specific record this season. The Sheffield Steelers have been phenomenal all season long and have only given up two short-handed goals, both have been scored by Hugo Roy. 

Carl Neill  

Carl Neill has been a dominant two-way defender for the Nottingham Panthers since joining and has shown great leadership on and off the ice. From day one, Carl Neill has played a bunch of hockey for the Nottingham Panthers with an average of 26:45 a game which equals 45% of the game! Carl Neill has also shown great offensive impact with 1 goal and a team leading 17 assists in 29 games. He is the highest scoring defenseman for the Panthers with Neill 10 points ahead of Jake Ryczek. Recently, Neill has been assigned the assistant captain role for this season and it’s clear to see why. Neill’s words after the Adam Johnson memorial game were moving and perfectly summed up how the organisation felt. Neill has always come across as a fan-first type of player and seems built for leadership. Given Carl Neill’s impact on and off the ice and his leadership I hope he stays in black and gold for many years. 

Kevin Moore 

Finally on my lists of standouts is the first non-playing member of the Nottingham Panthers. If I’m being honest, I could have included any of the coaching staff from this season as the bravery, courage and resilience they have all shown has been nothing short of incredible. But Kevin Moore has been so vocal and shown to be a real leader since the incident. Even the day after Kevin Moore provided a moving speech to his players and the fans which gave every fan around the league goosebumps. Moore once again moved the whole of the hockey world with his, emotion filled, post-game interview after the 6-3 loss to the Glasgow Clan on the 24th of January which you can view here. Kevin Moore can often be seen behind the bench giving supportive words and a friendly hand on the shoulder. Like in the Glasgow Clan game where Moore was seen supporting Hugo Roy after his missed penalty shot and Mike Robinson after he was pulled in favour of the extra attacker. Kevin has been such a great leadership figure for the Panthers and has been exactly what the organisation needs in times like this and given he is only 35 years old I for one hope he stays within the Panthers organisation for many years to come. 

*Article provided by Joe Maciag (Ice Hockey Correspondent).

*Main image @PanthersImages Assistant Coach Kevin Moore has shown to be a leader during a tough campaign.

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