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New Panthers prez is ‘incredibly optimistic’ about franchise’s future

Mar 4, 2014, 3:02 PM EDT

Jonathan Huberdeau Getty Images

With new ownership that’s apparently given general manager Dale Tallon permission to spend to the salary cap, the Florida Panthers are definitely a team to watch leading up to tomorrow’s trade deadline, and into this summer’s draft and free agency.

Yesterday, we passed along the news that longtime club president Michael Yormark had resigned to go work with Jay-Z’s agency. Yormark was replaced with Rory Babich, who spoke optimistically about the future of the franchise.

“We’re incredibly optimistic,” Babich said, per the Miami Herald. “[Vinnie Viola and Doug Cifu] bought the team with the belief it can be very successful in South Florida. Dale and I certainly share that vision. That’s why we’re both here today.”

The Panthers already have some blue-chip youngsters, like Jonathan Huberdeau, Aleksander Barkov, Nick Bjugstad, Drew Shore, Erik Gudbranson, Dmitry Kulikov, and Michael Matheson. Even if they don’t all pan out perfectly, with some savvy trade and/or free-agent additions, the Panthers’ future could be a bright one on the ice.

As for off the ice, we’ll have to wait and see. If the Panthers turn into a consistent winner, will the fans support them?

  1. lesleyvissersfacelift - Mar 4, 2014 at 3:36 PM

    ….after the franchise moves to Quebec.

  2. canuckinamerica - Mar 4, 2014 at 3:43 PM

    And those 8347 fans a game agree.

  3. jwalsh217 - Mar 4, 2014 at 3:49 PM

    It tough to read this and believe a word of it. Every hockey preview I’ve read for the past decade talks about how the panthers are looking to rebuild this year. It happens over and over and there is no end in sight. The team’s off ice problem kill the product on the ice. Everyone is all excited saying they can spend to the cap, but then the next article says there losing 30-40 million a year. if they spend to the cap these loses are going to get worse and no owner is going to take that much of a financial hit. you can’t blame the fans for not supporting this team, there has been nothing to root for. Hockey is never going to work in south florida and the sooner the NHL realizes this the better off the league will be.

    • elrock7 - Mar 4, 2014 at 9:02 PM

      Hell, football doesn’t even work in Florida!

  4. djshnooks - Mar 4, 2014 at 4:42 PM

    I was just saying yesterday, with the acquisition of Pirri, Florida has quite a stable of young studs down the middle.

    Barkov – Bugjstad – Pirri – Shore – Howden – Trocheck…and I think I’m missing one.

    That’s a lot of young talent to work with…just up front at the center position.

    So mad Buffalo didn’t offer more for Pirri.

  5. greatmiamisportsmind - Mar 4, 2014 at 6:32 PM

    Here are your typical ill informed NHL fans who doesn’t think hockey belongs to Florida. Apparently you all aren’t aware that Florida is top 5 in the NHL in ad revenue, the owners who are all money hungry would NEVER let a top 5 team in ad revenue leave. Unlike Phoenix and other teams, the Panthers are part of a much bigger organization, that also owns BB&T Center. BB&T Center itself is top 5 the US in tickets sold to events (concerts, etc.) and top 20 world wide. All events held there are used to offset any losses the Panthers incur. BB&T Center is centrally located between Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach Counties, all of which have approximately 12,000,000 people. People often make the 1 hour trek from Naples and Fort Myers which is right across the highway. Palm Beach County is a top 10 television hockey market with all the retirees and transplants in the area. When the Panthers moved from Miami Arena to the now named BB&T Center, there was 15,000 season ticket holders, the season ticket list had to be cut down because there were too many. One of the biggest exploding youth hockey markets is south florida. If the Panthers 1996 Stanley Cup run shows us anything, the fans will support the Panthers if they are winning. The notion the Panthers are losing money as a whole is laughable.

    • elrock7 - Mar 4, 2014 at 9:05 PM

      Hey greatmiami genious, Panthers are losing 100k per day. Know your facts!

      • greatmiamisportsmind - Mar 4, 2014 at 9:18 PM

        Your going to seriously believe a team President who know he was on his way out? I’m going out on the limb and guess no hockey team in any league in the history of hockey is losing 36,500,000 a year.

        Are the Panthers losing money? Sure, they are, but they are also writing off the losses with other events at BB&T Center, such as Justin Timberlake who sold the thing out tonight, from what I’ve heard. All that money they make from that concert and any other concert for that matter, goes directly into the Panthers’ owner coffers.

  6. canuckinamerica - Mar 4, 2014 at 6:55 PM

    Think this says it all.

    • greatmiamisportsmind - Mar 4, 2014 at 9:36 PM

      It doesn’t matter if your Florida, Toronto, Chicago, Tampa Bay, Phoenix, or Boston. When your hockey team has made the playoffs once since 1998-99 season or to be precise, they have made the playoffs once since before the Minnesota Wild and Columbus Blue Jackets even existed, that market will have a hard time drawing fans in on a regular basis. In fact, the last time the Panthers even won a playoff series, was the 1996 Eastern Conference Finals. Who’s at fault for the Panthers being that bad for that long? The previous ownership. The fact that last summer they let the face of the franchise walk without even a single offer, speaks for how cheap the previous owner was.

  7. canuckinamerica - Mar 4, 2014 at 7:01 PM

    Doubt this helps greatmiamisportshuh’s argument. And I can only imagine the traffic jams with all those people driving in from Naples and Fort Myers.

  8. canuckinamerica - Mar 4, 2014 at 7:04 PM

    And one more for your reading pleasure.

    • greatmiamisportsmind - Mar 4, 2014 at 9:27 PM

      nice link to the website that happens to be the same exact website and web page for that matter as the link under this post. don’t try to make it out to be as bad as you want it to be.

  9. canuckinamerica - Mar 4, 2014 at 7:20 PM

    Just one more to refute greatmiamisportshuh’s post.

    • greatmiamisportsmind - Mar 4, 2014 at 9:23 PM

      As I mentioned in the previous post, you think Yormark didn’t put this out there knowing he was moving on from the Panthers? If the Panthers are really losing 100,000 a day x 365 days a year, your telling me the Panthers are losing 36,500,000 a season? That seems a little far fetched. Of course Yormark put this out there, funny 2 weeks before he knew he was leaving for Roc Nation.

    • greatmiamisportsmind - Mar 4, 2014 at 9:26 PM

      So I’m just curious, is it 20 million a year or 36,500,000 a year (100,000k per day)? 16,500,000 is a big difference. Not to mention, as I’ve mentioned, the money the Panthers lose as hockey team, the owner just writes off as a loss since the money he is making from other concerts more than off sets that loss. So of course he’s going to give Tallon the green light to spend money. Hell spend up to the cap every year, because the owner is just going to write it off as a tax loss and recoup that money anyways.

  10. canuckinamerica - Mar 4, 2014 at 9:35 PM

    I think I would rather believe direct quotes from an owner and those in the know than someone who obviously is….well…..guessing. And the $100K per day relates to during the hockey season. Wow…..

    • greatmiamisportsmind - Mar 4, 2014 at 9:41 PM

      wow, I’m curious as to where in any of the stories you posted it says 100,000 per day during the hockey season. It doesn’t say that anywhere. Your telling me a sports team owner who is presumably a multi millionaire, or probably closer to a billionaire, isn’t going to cook the books to show that he is losing money (if he wants a tax write off) or isn’t making a whole lot of money?

      Explain to me how the Wild supposedly is losing money this year and lost money last year, when their arena is sold out to capacity or more every game the past 2 seasons? Again, a rich millionaire cooking the books. You can’t possibly believe any owner when they say they are losing money.

      • greatmiamisportsmind - Mar 4, 2014 at 10:09 PM

        The salary cap next season is roughly 71 million.

        The new Canadian television deal with rogers gives each team roughly 9.5-15 million each year.

        The NBC/NBCSN deal on the American side of the television deal gives each team roughly 6.25 million dollars each season.

        That’s 15.75 to 21.25 million per team each season based on league’s national television deals in each country.

        If I am not mistaken, the NHL pools all of their local television dollars into one pot and split it evenly between the 30 teams. The Maple Leafs have the NHL’s richest local television deal at 41 million per season. That’s 1.3 more million per team.
        The top 10
        Toronto 1.3 million per team
        Rangers 1.2 million per team
        Canadiens 1.1 million per team
        Red Wings 1.0 million per team
        Vancouver .83 million per team
        islanders .8 million per team
        Devils .8 million per team
        Dallas .67 million per team
        Kings .67 million per team
        Penguins .6 million per team

        That’s 8.97 million per team in the top 10 NHL local television deals alone. That’s not counting in the other 20 team’s local television deals.

        That is 24.7 to 30.22 million per team on television deals alone.

        We haven’t even figured in the local radio broadcasts, concessions, team memorabilia or even a single ticket sold to any game.

        So again, how are the Panthers losing 100k per day, 20 million a year, or however you want to slice it.

  11. canuckinamerica - Mar 4, 2014 at 9:43 PM

    Please read the articles……it is not only Yormark making these quotes, but rather co-owners as well. And I am sure Yormark would lie….that would not hurt his chances of another job in the NHL. Prozac, Bud.

  12. canuckinamerica - Mar 4, 2014 at 10:24 PM

    Guess you are right. The owners are lying.

  13. canuckinamerica - Mar 4, 2014 at 10:42 PM

    March 7 vs Sabres. Online tickets at starting at $12. That will make the owners rich.

    • greatmiamisportsmind - Mar 4, 2014 at 11:05 PM

      It’s not the $12 tickets that make the owners rich, but I’ll be kind and factor in the cheap nose bleed $12 for a family of 4 it’s
      4 tickets at $12 each = $48
      2 beers at $9 each = $18
      2 sodas at $6 each = $12
      4 hot dogs at $7 each = $28
      parking $20

      That is $126 for a family of 4

      plus whatever crappy knick knack liitle johnny and little suzy want at the team store or kiosk that is grossly over priced.

  14. canuckinamerica - Mar 5, 2014 at 1:53 PM

    Which ultimately pays for 1 or2 composite sticks.

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