Panthers In Business This Summer

Over the past month, the Nottingham Panthers have been extremely busy with signings for the 2024/25 season, securing eight new additions. Today, I will break down these signings and discuss some of the players who have confirmed their departures from the Panthers.

Let’s start with the departures. Joe Hazeldine was the first to leave, having joined the team mid-season and performed excellently in every game. Hazeldine is now joining Panther’s legend Corey Neilson in Glasgow. Simon Depres is also heading to Glasgow, where he will reunite with Hazeldine and Corey. Simon, who also joined mid-season, demonstrated his pedigree with his composure and poise on the puck. Although Despres divided opinions among fans, his leadership and quality significantly bolstered the Panthers’ defence.

Tyler Welsh is returning to France to join Cergy-Pontoise, where he previously scored 12 goals and 24 assists. Welsh’s relentless energy and exceptional forechecking will be missed. Stephen Anderson, another relentless forechecker, leaves after two years to join Polish side GKS Katowice. Lastly, Mathieu Lemay has decided to retire early at 29. Lemay scored 23 goals last season and was a dynamo on the powerplay. We wish all departing players the best in their future endeavours and thank them for their contributions to the Panthers.

Now, let’s discuss the 2024/25 squad. Re-signing Jordan Kelsall was a move every fan anticipated and desired. Jordan embodies the Panthers’ spirit, playing any position needed and consistently delivering key goals. He is expected to thrive under Danny Stewart’s style of play. Ollie Betteridge, another re-signing, had his last season hampered by injuries but still made the GB squad and performed well in Prague. We look forward to seeing Ollie back to his best next season.

Josh Tetlow, a crucial re-signing, has faced criticism from the fanbase but remains a highly regarded defenseman in the league and a GB stalwart. His stint in Finland has enhanced his two-way game. Logan Neilson, another exciting re-signing, had a fantastic rookie campaign and was named under-23 Brit of the year. With potential to be a key scorer, we eagerly anticipate his development over the off-season.

Hugo Roy, the first import re-signing since Otto Nieminen, was my favorite player last season. His speed and powerful shot make him a valuable asset. With a year of EIHL experience, Hugo is expected to improve on his impressive last season, where he earned most valuable player and players’ player awards.

Among the new import signings, Sam Herr’s return is monumental. After four years, Herr, who led the Panthers and the league in points during the COVID-shortened season, brings immense quality both on and off the ice. Obviously, this is the biggest signing in probably the last decade for the Panthers but it is so much more than that for me. This signing unites the fanbase, sells tickets on his own and brings so much to the team. I don’t have the words to describe how huge this signing is for the Panthers. If you want to see my breakdown on him, check out my Twitter/X thread on him below. 

Joining Herr is Matt Alfaro, a 6’2″ center from Ravensburg who excels in a two-way game. Alfaro addresses many of the Panthers’ issues from last season, bringing size and excellent faceoff abilities. Last season, he ranked in the top three for faceoff percentage in the DEL2. His playmaking skills and puck protection will be invaluable. 

Lastly, Matt Spencer, the first import defenseman for the 2024/25 season, is an outstanding signing. Identified as a potential alternative for Kevin Tansey, Spencer offers a solid defensive game and intense physicality. He is expected to be one of the most influential signings and likely to wear an ‘A’ for the Panthers. 

Overall, the Panthers have conducted excellent business so far, retaining key players and recruiting high-quality talent. Congratulations to everyone involved, and we look forward to more signing news. 

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

*Main image @PanthersIHC Sam Herr returns to the Panthers.

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