Panthers coach Bob Boughner on lines, how players need to compete every night for spots

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Florida Panthers coach Bob Boughner talks about performance at camp and putting together their lines ahead of the season opener vs. Lightning.

- I was really happy with, you know, LLammikko and Hunt. Borgi's a young guy still learning, and it's a bit of a process there. And he's going to be a great player. You know, and even a couple of the veteran D, from, I would say that, [INAUDIBLE] and all those kind of guys, they did well. It was a good camp. It was a competitive camp. But it is nice to be down to the numbers and down to our team here for practice going into Saturday.

REPORTER: What do you want to see out of Borgstron in the A?

- You know what, I mean, you can't teach what he has, right? His vision, and his skill, and the way he sees the ice. You know, we talked to him about keeping up with the workouts, keeping getting bigger and stronger. I mean, he's going to be a player here for a long time, so you know, trying to put on some muscle, put on some weight, and be able to handle big-- and he agreed. You know, he said towards the end of camp he felt battling the big guys down low would tear him up, where he didn't have enough to go back onto the offense.

So those are things. He's going to play a lot. I don't want a guy up here like Borghi, who's a huge part of the future, to play limited minutes, and put him on the wing, and take him out of his position, and not play as much as he should. This is all about the best thing for Borgi and his development. And there's no need to rush anybody. I think that that's what's good about, I think, the organization right now. There's not a need to rush a young guy up here and screw around with his confidence.

REPORTER: Do you have a pretty good idea then-- I mean, that was your third line for much of the preseason-- what you want to do there with three and four?

- Yeah. I played those guys, because I wanted to give Borghi a shot and I wanted to see if he could fit into our top nine. And there was games that absolutely he could. And you know, he's going to be back up here. Getting down there, and playing some games, and getting his game in shape. But you know, I don't know. Right now Frankie Vatrano's a guy that-- you know, they had a good game. I believe it was in Orlando. I think I had that line together, if I'm not mistaken. And they had some good chemistry as well. So I like Frankie there with McCann and Malgin. I think I want a third line to be an offensive line as well. And it definitely fits the bill, I think.

REPORTER: You've got a lot of guys in the bottom six, especially that fourth line that can play.

- Sorry.

REPORTER: Do you expect that he-- pretty fluid, especially on the fourth line, given the guys that are sitting? Some nights they're also guys--

- Yeah, for sure. And I'm going through the process. I started it a couple days ago. I've seen some more guys today. I'm having individual meetings with everybody. And I'm being very upfront and honest with guys. It's a competition every night. There's nights it's-- they may not play. And that's up to them. We want to find the right 20, obviously, and you know, make sure that it's not set in stone, that everybody is vulnerable to be a scratch if your game's not in the right spot. And that's a good thing. We have guys that are ready to go in and out. And they know that.

REPORTER: And they see Keith and all the other injured guys out there today. Seems like they're all progressing.

- Yeah, yeah, MacKenzie was just a maintenance day. But Yans is back. Ekie's back. You know, so we're getting healthy at the right time. Update on Kiselevich's-- he had surgery, successful surgery the other day. They plated his jaw, so we know he had a broken jaw. And we're getting word from the doctor that he might be able to be on the ice at some point this week. So that's good news.

REPORTER: And again, working on the power play, the five forwards. Looks like you're digging it. [LAUGHS]

- Yeah, yeah, yeah. We wanted to see it again today, and I liked it. And really, to be honest with you, I really like our second unit, that look with Yandle, and Ekblad, and Malgin and Vatrano going downhill, big [INAUDIBLE] in front. I think it's going to be a great unit too. So we're going to work more on it this week before we make a final decision, but it's something-- today was-- I wanted it to be a light day. We have the team bonding thing afterwards. I didn't want to have the guys stay at the rink too long, so it was a perfect day to work on some face-off stuff, some power play, and some three-on-three, and you know, shootout kind of things, things that we-- it's tough to find time to practice on a regular basis.

REPORTER: And now you have three full days to kind of do that, right?

- Yeah.

REPORTER: I mean, camp has been a couple weeks long. Now you see the light.

- Absolutely. I mean, our focus all week, starting tomorrow, is really-- today, I should say-- is really about Tampa Bay. And then we know we have a few days off after that, so the good part about that is you know you could play your horses some heavy minutes that night. You know. And you don't play till the following-- I believe-- what, it's Thursday. So you know, we'll come up with a game plan. We're starting to talk about some Tampa tendencies we've seen in the last three games. And you know, and coming up with a game plan. And tomorrow's a work day. And I told those guys that have some fun today and come back to the rink tomorrow. Tomorrow is a work day, and then we'll get more specific on Thursday and Friday.