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Offseason Report: Florida Panthers

Jul 24, 2012, 11:55 AM EDT

Panthers score Getty Images

From July 16-Aug 16, we’ll be profiling all 30 NHL teams by recapping what they did this offseason and previewing their upcoming campaigns.

2011-12 season

38-26-18 94 points. First in the Southeast Division, third seed in the Eastern Conference. Lost to New Jersey (4-3) in the first round.

Additions

Filip Kuba, George Parros, Peter Mueller

Departures

Mikael Samuelsson, Jason Garrison, Wojtek Wolski, Krys Barch

2012 Draft

1st Round, 23rd overall — Mike Matheson (USHL Dubuque)

Looking back

It’s been a relatively quiet offseason for GM Dale Tallon, particularly compared to last summer when the Panthers were forced to go on a spending spree to get above the salary cap floor.

Most recently, Tallon was able to get Kris Versteeg under contract through 2015-16 – a good sign for a franchise that’s had trouble retaining talented, young players in the past.

The loss of hard-shooting defenseman Garrison to Vancouver will be a challenge to overcome, but the signing of Kuba should help in that regard. Moreover, 20-year-old Erik Gudbranson has the potential to handle a larger role following his first full season in the NHL.

Looking forward

The big question: Will Tallon acquire goalie Roberto Luongo in a trade with the Canucks?

In late June, it was reported the Panthers were “internally getting ready for the return” of their former netminder.

However, Tallon and Vancouver GM Mike Gillis have yet to reach a deal, with the latter insisting he’s willing to keep Luongo until “close to the season” – and maybe beyond.

Have your say

Vote in our poll and let us know what you think of the Panthers’ 2012-13 outlook in the comments section.

  1. lostpuppysyndrome - Jul 24, 2012 at 12:11 PM

    Well shoot, if Mueller pans out, they may have quietly ended up doing very well this off season, despite losing Garrison. They have enough prospects to fill in any voids for a long time anyway. Sucks that they have to play for Florida though.

  2. sknut - Jul 24, 2012 at 12:46 PM

    I think they will be a little worse, it seems they may have overachieved but certainly they have laid a foundation for success. Mueller could be a steal if he can stay healthy.

  3. scottfmullin - Jul 24, 2012 at 1:24 PM

    Garrison struggled late in the year for Florida – only a couple of goals after February. Teams learned to play tight on him on the power play and prevented that shot from being taken. He was great in his time here, but he was commanding too large contract from the Panthers. I get the feeling he wanted to go his hometown in Vancouver all along.

    I don’t foresee any more 15+ goal seasons as a Canuck, but I’ll be pleasantly surprised if he reaches that plateau. Us Floridians don’t carry any malcontent for Garrison.

    But more to the point, Kuba is a solid defensive replacement and Mueller seems to be checked out and ready to play. Wolski was generally bad, Sturm was mostly nonexistent, and Samuelsson was a little inconsistent. We’ll wait and see before we call this an improvement, but this offseason isn’t a total loss at all.

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