Sweetland showing signs of improvement

Jody Jewers
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HALIFAX - Former Rambler Andrew Sweetland is progressing rapidly in the Florida Panthers system, according to the NHL's clubs assistant general manager.
Randy Sexton, in the province for the team's training camp at Port Hawkesbury last weekend and preseason game against the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday at the Halifax Metro Centre, offered an update on Sweetland, who is entering the second year of a three-year, $2.625-million entry-level contract.
"Andrew looks much stronger this year," he said. "He was only two years out of Tier 2 (junior A) when he turned pro and it's a hell of a jump. He learned a lot last year."
Sweetland, who turns 23 next month, split the 2008-09 season between the American Hockey League's Rochester Americans and the East Coast league's Florida Everblades. He played 48 games in Rochester, recording one goal and two assists, then was sent down to Florida, where he totalled 10 goals and 23 points in 23 regular-season games, and six points in 11 playoff games.
"He needed to figure out how much stronger he had to be, and he's done that," said Sexton. "The difference between his practices this year and last year are like night and day.
"He's stronger, he's more confident, he's faster and he's got good skill. He just needs to spend some time to mature as a young man and as a professional.
"He clearly won't be with the Panthers this year, but we like what we see so far."
The six-foot-two, 204-pound Sweetland, a Bonavista, N.L., native, tore up the Maritime Junior A Hockey League in his lone season in Amherst in 2006-07, amassing 56 goals and 117 points in 54 games to handily win the league scoring title en route to being named regular-season most valuable player.


Organizations: Florida Panthers, NHL, Ottawa Senators Halifax Metro Centre American Hockey League Florida Everblades Maritime Junior A Hockey League

Geographic location: Rochester, Port Hawkesbury, East Coast Florida Bonavista Amherst

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