Jul 28, 2014, 12:00 PM EST
The Panthers haven’t fared very well over the last two seasons — finishing 29th and 30th overall in consecutive years — but, according to veteran goalie Roberto Luongo, that lack of success wasn’t due to a lack of talent.
“I like it — the talent was always there,” Luongo said in previewing the upcoming campaign, per Vancouver’s Team 1040 radio. “We had a lot of good talent in the young kids, but we needed to surround them with some good veterans.”
Florida has been stockpiling talent for quite some time now, and should (theoretically) reap some of the rewards this season… even though all that talent is still remarkably young. Former Calder winner Jonathan Huberdeau, 21, is entering his third professional campaign, while Finnish center Aleksander Barkov — who is still just 18 years old — will embark on his sophomore year.
Big things are expected from another 18-year-old, Aaron Ekblad, the first overall pick at this year’s draft and it’s also worth noting that Nick Bjugstad, last year’s leading scorer, just turned 22 last week.
But as Luongo mentioned, veterans were in big demand to help these kids along. That’s partly why Florida GM Dale Tallon went on a summer spending spree, dropping more than $53 million to bring in the likes of Dave Bolland, Shawn Thornton, Jussi Jokinen and Luongo’s former teammate in Vancouver, Willie Mitchell. In Bolland, Thornton and Mitchell the Panthers inherited five Stanley Cup championships; they also brought aboard a veteran NHL coach in Gerard Gallant with the aim of providing stability after going through two coaches (Kevin Dineen and Peter Horachek) last season.
“I’ve heard a lot of great things about our new coach,” Luongo explained. “I think for our team, honestly, it’s a matter of making sure everything comes together at the beginning of the season with the new coaching staff.
“If we can stay healthy, I think we’ll be in the mix.”
Nov 24, 2014, 10:23 AM EST
The latter’s in response to Roman Polak’s injury.
Nov 24, 2014, 10:03 AM EST
The Penguins in general have been spending a lot of time in the sin bin.
Nov 24, 2014, 9:22 AM EST
He’ll be in Tampa Bay for the first time since the move on Wednesday.
Nov 24, 2014, 8:44 AM EST
David Pastrnak might make his NHL debut.
Nov 24, 2014, 8:02 AM EST
Monday’s collection of links.
Nov 24, 2014, 2:35 AM EST
He was 84.
Nov 24, 2014, 1:14 AM EST
Suffered a lower body injury Thursday night.
Nov 24, 2014, 12:50 AM EST
Arizona was playing in the second game of a back-to-back.
Nov 23, 2014, 11:33 PM EST
Keeps the game tied 1-1 in the second.
Nov 23, 2014, 11:00 PM EST
Colorado returns to action on Tuesday night in Arizona.
Nov 23, 2014, 10:15 PM EST
Playing in his 1,000th NHL game tonight.
Nov 23, 2014, 9:15 PM EST
Didn’t get a penalty for bumping into the goaltender.
Nov 23, 2014, 8:58 PM EST
Scores his eighth of the season.
Nov 23, 2014, 8:45 PM EST
Was stretchered off the ice Saturday night.
Nov 23, 2014, 7:45 PM EST
Beauchemin and Perry have already missed games due to the disease this season.
Nov 23, 2014, 7:30 PM EST
Had two goals in two AHL games.
Nov 23, 2014, 7:00 PM EST
Chara placed on long-term injured reserve.
Nov 23, 2014, 6:25 PM EST
Paul Maurice irate with the penalty call.
Nov 23, 2014, 5:20 PM EST
Received a two minute boarding minor.
Nov 23, 2014, 5:03 PM EST
Not much of a margin for error for the banged-up B’s.
- NHL on NBCSN: Bruins seek perfect game vs. Penguins 2
- Legendary hockey coach Viktor Tikhonov has died 8
- Canucks’ Hamhuis placed on IR 3
- Firing Dallas Eakins ‘would be so unfair,’ says Taylor Hall 31
- ‘It sucks for us, it sucks for the fans’: Oilers losing skid hits six games 17
- Video: Milan Lucic calls Dalton Prout one-punch ‘gutless’ 97
- ‘We did not want to disrespect our fans’: Leafs salute supporters after beating Red Wings 5
- Video: Demers sends Stoll flying with massive open-ice hit 8
- Don Cherry on Leafs not saluting fans: ‘I couldn’t believe these guys would do something like this’ 16
- Report: Dan Hamhuis’ injury is significant, but not season-ending 7
- Video: Milan Lucic calls Dalton Prout one-punch ‘gutless’ (97)
- Prout drops Lucic: ‘As far as I was concerned we were engaged in a fight’ (87)
- The Leafs didn’t salute their fans last night, so that’s a thing now (78)
- Jack Johnson filed for bankruptcy, parents allegedly took advantage of him (58)
- Wild put Harding on waivers (Updated) (52)