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Piastri Signs With Panthers - LA Adds Two Stars In Lieu of Draft [×2 draft media]]
(This post was last modified: 01-23-2024, 09:59 PM by vbottas17. Edited 2 times in total.)

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Alexi Piastri is leaving the Minnesota Monarchs to join the Los Angeles Panthers

With all eyes on the draft this weekend, one team that was noticeably silent on Saturday afternoon was the Los Angeles Panthers. Heading into the draft with only a 4th round selection at their disposal (pick #70), The Panthers were looking to add players who could help their roster immediately. While the draft has produced a number of the key up and coming players on the Panthers roster, Los Angeles would instead look to other SHL teams players to address their team needs.

The Los Angeles Panthers have acquired free agent right wing Alexi Piastri in a sign and trade deal with the Minnesota Monarchs. The Panthers and Piastri have agreed to a 3 season contract, worth 6 million annually,  the final season of the deal being a mutual option. The Monarchs will retain 50% of Piastri's salary for the first season of the contract & receive the Panthers s76 2nd round pick from Los Angeles in return. Alexi's contract contains a full no-trade clause. Coming off arguably the best season of his SHL career, Piastri adds another dangerous offensive weapon to a potent Panthers attack. Alexi was selected to the SHL All-Star Team for the second time during his career last season after posting a career high 97 points. Piastri won the Ryan Jesster Award in S70 as the SHL's rookie of the year. The 19th selection in the S67 SHL Draft, Piastri joins Adam Prpich and Axel Kirby on the Panthers, all three are forwards who were selected in the first round of the S67 draft.

Piastri is the second big name player that the Panthers have aquired in as many days, both via sign and trade deals. Defenseman Rasmus Bergling was acquired from the Chicago Syndicate after signing a 3 season contract worth 6 million annually. Chicago will retain 50% of Bergling's salary for the duration of the contract. Los Angeles paid a pretty penny to acquire such a quality player. The Syndicate will receive the Panthers S77 1st round pick, S78 1st round pick, S77 2nd round pick, and prospect Ondrej von Stoodrick in exchange. Bergling is a huge addition for the Panthers blueline. Another s67 draftee, Rasmus had a breakout season in S74. Bergling scored 17 goals and added 38 assists for a total of 55 points, improving across the board on his previous career best statistics by a wide margain. Bergling stands 6'2" and weighs in at 210 pounds, he plays a two-way game and can be relied on by the Panthers to play in key situations, no matter what the score may be. Defensively, the Swedish born defenseman has blocked at least 120 shots in each of his 5 SHL seasons.

Both moves show that Los Angeles is going all in with their current group of players in hopes of bringing home championships. You have to believe that Piastri was heading to Los Angeles in free agency no matter what with the return being what it was for Minnesota.

GM Fox McCloud on the Panther's Sunday acquisitions:

"It's not everyday that a team can say that they've brought in an A grade player to bolster their lineup, and here we are able to say that we've done that twice in the same day. We've been building this team for a while, now. The rebuilding process was grueling at times, but the progression and development we've seen all throughout our lineup gave us the confidence to go out and pull the trigger on some moves that really take our roster to the next level. Alex brings with him a ton of offensive upside, and playing next to some of the most underrated offensive minds in the league should do wonders for both him and our offense as a whole. Bergling is that swiss army knife of a defenseman that every team dreams of. We're not exactly sure how the pairings will look, but they'll sort themselves out through training camp, I'm sure. Alex and Rasmus will undoubtedly catapult us into the conversation with other legitimate Cup contenders, and not just for this season. We're both lucky and excited to bring in both of them."

We caught up with Alexi for a word regarding his decision..

Interview Alexi, first off, thank you for taking the time to speak with us. I'm sure that you've been extremely busy over the past couple of weeks.

Alexi Piastri - "Thanks Tom, no problem at all, anytime."

Interview Congratulations on your new contract and becoming the newest member of the Panthers, so why Los Angeles? Why now?

Piastri - "Thanks again Tom, I'm thrilled to be joining the Panthers organization. Ultimately, Los Angeles felt like the best fit for me on all levels and it didn't take long for me to realize that I wanted to be a Panther. I feel that the roster is constructed very well and that we're just now entering our window to join the leagues elite teams. I feel that the Panthers can compete for championships now, and well into the future as well.

Interview You've been very vocal about your belief that the Minnesota Monarchs were set up for long-term success, did something change? Why are you leaving Minnesota?

Piastri - "Right to the tough questions, eh Jerry? I still believe that the Monarchs are set up for long-term success. It's tough to leave such a great group of people and players that the Monarchs have brought into the organization. I came into the league with Nevek Kove, Brendan Laroux and Hải Nam Hoàng, Meta Knight joined the team the season before that, and I've watched as some of the leagues top young talents such as Luca Pane, Lasse Zeigler, Elena Maximova, Kevin Kim, Jeff Newman & Bastien Primeau have joined the team.. it's tough to leave them but they're all still in Minnesota. I have no doubt that the Monarchs are set up to succeed. Ultimately I had to do what I felt was best for myself & my career."

Interview You dodged the second part of that question...

Piastri - "You're right Jerry, honestly, heading into the season I thought that there would be no way that I would seriously consider playing elsewhere. But we struggled. I really thought that the Monarchs were going to take a huge leap forward and join the leagues elite teams, but we actually regressed a bit last season and went from 33 wins to only 26. The on ice results weighed on me. I want to play meaningful games deep into the playoffs and unfortunately that's not something that we were able to accomplish during my time in Minnesota. It's no secret that the Monarchs have a lot of up and coming forwards. It kind of made it easier for me to leave knowing that it would create more opportunities for the clubs younger players."

Interview Care to share with us which teams were after you in free agency?

Piastri - "Sure, why not. The teams that I'm aware of having interest in signing me were obviously Los Angeles - Minnesota, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Texas, Baltimore, & Toronto. Each team offered their own unique opportunities and I feel that signing with any of those teams would have been great. The league is going to be highly competitive in the future with so many excellent organizations."

Interview It's rumored that a couple of teams received permission to talk with you before the free agency negotiating window opened. Is that true?

Piastri - "Yeah that's true. There was an article that came out in the media and next thing you know, I wake up in the morning and see that the Winnipeg Aurora have reached out. I was confused for a second but then I saw that I had a message from Minnesota telling me that other teams may reach out ahead of time and that they had given them permission to do so. Shortly after that, the Panthers reached out. I'm not going to lie, I may have packed a bag and prepared to head to Canada shortly after talking with the Aurora.. but then I saw my surfboard in the corner of the room and realized that the only use I would have for it in Winnipeg would be if I removed the fins and had some dogs tow me around. On top of that it would be pretty damn cold. Thankfully, the Panthers called shortly after that, and I started thinking about some of the breaks that I used to surf whenever I could get out there on offdays between Battleborn games. I joke around, but if you had asked me to name two teams that I would want to hear from in free agency, they would have been Los Angeles and Winnipeg."

Interview Do you think that this helped the Panthers sign you?

Piastri - "Maybe, I can't say for sure. I didn't totally commit to Los Angeles until I had the opportunity to speak with some other teams. At the same time, I had excellent conversations with the management. We had the same goals, our visions for the future matched up, and the team met the criteria for everything that I was looking for in an organization. Then the negotiation window opened, and it's a bit overwhelming how many great opportunities were out there. When the Edmonton Blizzard reach out to you, it's something that you definitely have to listen to. The same goes for the presentation and conversations had with other teams. I'm thrilled with how things worked out. I can't wait to hit the ice for the Panthers."

Interview Are you going to Los Angeles just to surf? Do you think that going to the beach all the time could affect your play on the ice? Will legit California burritos be the downfall of your career?

Piastri - "No, I mean yeah, I'm going to surf as much as possible, but I'm not gonna go full Rob Blake on it and mail it in. I'm dedicated to improving my game, I feel that I could still round things out on the defensive side a bit and become more of a complete player. I'm just getting started and can't wait to see how I fit in with this fantastic group of players in Los Angeles. California burritos are the secret to my success, don't tell anybody."

Interview Have you talked with any of the Panthers players yet? Did anyone have an impact on your decision to sign in L.A.?

Piastri - "Yeah, I've talked with some of the players on the team. I talked with Reed Kobo and Axel Kirby pretty early and let them know that I was coming to Los Angeles. I mean, the whole team is full of awesome players who I have heard nothing but good things about. I would say that the collective group of people in Los Angeles had an impact on my decision. Management has a great vision for the franchise and how I will fit in with the team. On an individual note, talking with Reed and hearing about how happy he is in Los Angeles and how committed to the team he is, that's probably when I decided that I for sure wanted to sign with the team. Los Angeles is the perfect spot for me to continue my career."

Interview Let's envision that it's opening night. You're in the starting lineup on a line with Adam Prpich and Reed Kobo. How are you guys going to mesh together? Do you feel that you'll be able to recreate the success that you've had in the past with linemates such as Meta Kight, Luca Pane, and Dominik Froste?

Piastri - "I think that it's too early to predict how the line-up will look on opening night, but I do feel that I would fit in very well with the players that you mentioned. All three of us are excellent at controlling the puck, so I feel that we would give teams fits cycling the puck in the offensive zone and creating scoring chances. Adam and Reed are both excellent players that create a lot of space in the offensive zone which I feel will lead to a ton of grade a chances for all of us. Don't get me wrong, I'm certainly not going to complain if I'm playing with Axel, Derek Martin, or any of our up and coming forwards like Edzus Ozolins, Andrew Akerson, Ray Alexander, or Oliver Castillon. I feel that we're going to be rolling 3 lines that can play up against anybody in the league, regardless of how the combinations end up shaking out."

Interview Have you talked to your now former teammates in Minnesota? Were they aware that you would be leaving the team?

Piastri - Yeah, I let them know that I wasn't going to be re-signing with the Monarchs shortly after making up my mind to sign with Los Angeles. That's definitely the toughest aspect of this. I have the utmost respect for my former teammates and the organization. The coaching staff always put me in a great position to succeed. I have to take some of the blame for the teams lack of success recently, I've been put out there in a lot of key situations and we haven't been able to get it done on the ice. There were a lot of positives, though. I truly do feel that Minnesota is on the verge of turning their fortunes around and playing to their full potential. Hopefully we're playing against them in some very important games down the road."

Interview Yesterday, The Monarchs selected Niclas Wastlund with the 30th overall selection. Your agent and Wastlund's grandfather were a GM tandem for years with the Panthers. Did the selection of Wastlund make you second guess things at all? I'm sure that he's somebody that you're familiar with.

Piastri - "To be honest, my mind was already made up before the draft, and I already knew that I was going to be signing in Los Angeles at that point. Now had Wastlund been a part of the Monarchs organization before the draft.. it's tough to say if that would have affected my decision or not. I feel that the Monarchs got an absolute steal with Wastlund in the middle of the second round. Their draft class as a whole looks great. They added even more talent to their already stacked prospect cupboard. Mia Lavoie, Muon Collider,  Wastlund.. these are elite prospects and could be just the tip of the iceberg from this Minnesota draft class. I'll definitely be keeping tabs on their development."

Interview No explanation needed, give me 5 prospects from the S75 SHL Draft that you're excited to see play.

Piastri - "Niclas Wastlund, Mia Lavoie, Demir Bellona, Andrade La Sombra, and Carter Crutchfield."

Interview You were linked to the Panthers during your draft year. Instead, the Panthers ended up trading out of the 16th selection, a spot where they could have selected you, electing for a 1st round pick in the following draft instead. Did this bother you? Were you upset that the Panthers traded the pick?

Piastri - "I was definitely disappointed at the time. I think the camera crew caught me with my head in my hands for a second after the trade was announced. I never held any sort of grudge, though. This is a business, teams need to do what they feel is best for their organization. The Panthers converted a selection in the bottom quarter of the 1st round for a pick that could end up being much higher in the following draft. Any disappointment that I felt was quickly overridden with excitement to join the Monarchs. That draft class was pretty crazy. Kove, Knight, Laroux, Kennedy.. joining my Battleborn linemate Dominik Froste and joining players such as Julian Flörsch and Enes Gündoğan, I was thrilled to be a part of the team. I'm thankful for my time with Minnesota. I spent 8 seasons with the organization, and I only have positive things to say about my experience. I'm glad that things worked out the way that they did."

Interview Thank you for your time Alexi, I think that we've asked you about pretty much everything that we could think of. Good luck with the Los Angeles Panthers. We wish you the best of luck with your career in the future. Feel free to leave us with anything else that you may want to say.

Piastri - "Thanks Jerry, thanks Tom. I'm excited for the next chapter in my career and for the opportunity to join such an amazing organization. I'm proud to be a Los Angeles Panther and I can't wait to hit the ice in front of our fans in Los Angeles. Thank you to the Monarchs organization for treating me with such class and helping me develop into the player that I am today. I'll miss my former teammates, but I'm sure that I'll catch up with them whenever possible. I'll definitely be willing to show them some of the restaurants and beaches around Los Angeles if we happen to have an off day when they're in town. I can't wait to hit the ice with my new teammates with the Panthers and I hope that I can help bring championships to Los Angeles!"

Panthers Panthers Panthers

(3000+ words, x2 Draft media)

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Berserkers     -       syndicate      -     Berserkers

Absolutely thrilled to welcome you to the golden coast! First dinner is on me! Panthers

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@jason kranz sig elite / @sulovilen elite sig
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Panthers Ireland Highlanders

Hell yea!

Andren Akerson (Present)
Adrik Baranov (S55 to S70)
Rurik Razin (S32 to S44)
Roy Razin (S17 to S32) (HOF/Rage HOF)
Audun Wissink (S5 to S15)

So happy to have you here, gonna be an exciting season for sure!




Dat sig
dat shoutout
Enjoy LA buddy

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#40 Niclas Wastlund - W - VANCOUVER WHALERS Whalers / MINNESOTA MONARCHS Monarchs
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Aurora Knights Aurora Knights Aurora Knights Aurora Knights Aurora Knights
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RIP Dangel. See you on the other side, brother

who else are the panthers after...

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01-23-2024, 07:55 PMaleks Wrote: who else are the panthers after...

Salary cap bad.

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