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It’s Florida Panthers day on PHT

Jul 24, 2012, 9:00 AM EDT

Florida Panthers v New Jersey Devils - Game Six Getty Images

Welcome to our offseason initiative — 30 teams in 30 days.

From July 16 until Aug. 14, we’ll be dedicating each day to a new team by recapping the offseason and looking ahead to 2012-13.

There will also be a series of posts looking at key stories, player profiles and burning questions regarding each squad.

Today, we move on to the Florida Panthers.

Last season was a breakthrough season for what has long been the NHL’s most hapless franchise (or at least one of them). After more than a decade of early summers, the Panthers finally made the playoffs – and won the Southeast Division too. Sure, they got booted in the first round by the New Jersey Devils, but it was still a huge step in the right direction for GM Dale Tallon and first-year coach Kevin Dineen.

Unless you feel especially strongly about Marco Sturm and Mikael Samuelsson, the Panthers’ roster is largely unchanged (all apologies to Filip Kuba and Peter Mueller) – for now. Much like the New York Rangers with Rick Nash, Florida’s outlook could change significantly if they bring back Roberto Luongo.

Will the Panthers prove that last season was a stepping stone, not a fluke? Stick around PHT today for more on that.

  1. dougr42 - Jul 24, 2012 at 9:48 AM

    “Booted in the first round” doesn’t really sound fair. Sure they lost, but they went to 2nd OT in a 7 game series against a Devils team that was expected to win handily.

    Give credit where credit is due, they damn near pulled off what would have been an upset against a lower-seeded team.

  2. ruddigervancity - Jul 24, 2012 at 11:24 AM

    Ummm….Jason Garrison? I know he’s no Shea Weber, but he scored more power play goals than any other player on their team, was the team’s +/- leader, and played north of 20 mins a game…

  3. rushledger - Jul 24, 2012 at 11:25 AM

    They need to finish games stronger they had a ridiculous number of ot losses and shoot out losses can’t assume there always gonna win the division they need to find ways to get two points more often.

    • scottfmullin - Jul 24, 2012 at 1:16 PM

      Yeah strength and conditioning is going to have to be big next year. We lost too many guys to injuries last season, and we fell apart once the games stretched into OT. But I think it’s safe to say there should be an improvement in that facet, since they were pretty much rock-bottom. Only one game-winning goal in OT. A couple more shootouts won and we wouldn’t have had to wait until the last game of the year to win the division.

  4. govtminion - Jul 24, 2012 at 11:57 AM

    The Panthers made some serious progress- and I owe them an apology. I’m one of many who watched them throw big money at third-line players to reach the salary floor last summer and thought ‘train wreck in progress’. Whatever they saw in those players, I sure didn’t see it- and yet, a division championship, nearly took down the eventual East champs… who knew? I figured they’d finish dead last in the East (either them or Ottawa- oops!)

    So now the question is… can they do it again this coming season?

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