Aug 17, 2014, 8:00 AM EST
Throughout the month of August, PHT will be dedicating a day to all 30 NHL clubs. Today’s team? The Florida Panthers.
The Florida Panthers winning the Southeast Division seemed pretty fluky when they did it in 2011-12 – and not just because of those 18 “charity points” – but that run only seems like more of a mirage today.
The Panthers have only made the playoffs four times since entering the league in 1993-94 and haven’t won a playoff series in any year except that magical run to the 1996 Stanley Cup Final. With that in mind, it’s not surprising that some of the greater themes heading into 2014-15 bring about something of a “broken record” feeling.
Get this: the best reasons to feel excited about this team lie in their collection of young players. To add an extra pinch of nostalgia, Roberto Luongo‘s there to absorb a lot of pucks.
(At least Luongo as Panthers goalie 2.0 sends out some hilarious Tweets, though …)
On the bright side, some of those young talents really are intriguing. Jonathan Huberdeau and Aleksander Barkov could convert more of their promise into production next season. The Panthers grabbed another high-end prospect by zeroing in on Aaron Ekblad with the No. 1 overall pick and could develop another useful player or two if things break their way.
This year’s team also carries some parallels with the last one that made the playoffs in that they added a new head coach and a ragtag group of free agents. One may quibble with the deals Dave Bolland and/or Willie Mitchell received, yet there’s no denying that GM Dale Tallon added some championship experience to the mix. Then again, grabbing an underrated player in Jussi Jokinen could end up being the best move Tallon made this summer.
That said, it’s difficult not to wonder how much longer Tallon can continue to flounder, even in a lower pressure atmosphere like this. Pessimists may argue that this team really isn’t in that much better of a place than where they were when he was hired in 2010.
This is about that time when franchises get itchy to see some real improvement, and even if Florida has suffered from a lack of front office stability in the past, there’s also the risk of complacency.
Ultimately, new head coach Gerard Gallant and an interesting mix of veterans and youngsters will determine if this season will be a memorable one or just another snoozer in Sunrise. If nothing else, it’s tough to imagine things getting worse than they were last season.
Mar 4, 2015, 3:32 PM EST
Hurt it in practice.
Mar 4, 2015, 3:04 PM EST
Another small crowd last night at BB&T Center.
Mar 4, 2015, 2:28 PM EST
News and notes from around the crease…
Mar 4, 2015, 2:09 PM EST
“You can never have too many d-men at this time of the year.”
Mar 4, 2015, 2:04 PM EST
Detroit captain draws in for the first time in four games.
Mar 4, 2015, 1:53 PM EST
Veteran tough guy hopeful to return by the playoffs.
Mar 4, 2015, 12:49 PM EST
Boyle and the Rangers take on Detroit (on NBCSN), Tanguay and the Avs will play Pittsburgh.
Mar 4, 2015, 12:34 PM EST
Just two wins in their last eight.
Mar 4, 2015, 11:56 AM EST
Incident occurred Tuesday night, on Stars defenseman Trevor Daley.
Mar 4, 2015, 11:55 AM EST
“Not the start I wanted or the team wanted, and I’ve got to be better than that.”
Mar 4, 2015, 11:48 AM EST
Anaheim hosts Montreal at Honda.
Mar 4, 2015, 11:15 AM EST
Both were viewed as candidates to be moved at the deadline, but neither got shipped out.
Mar 4, 2015, 10:36 AM EST
“We are very pleased and hope our fans will be, as well.”
Mar 4, 2015, 10:31 AM EST
He’s on his way up from AHL San Antonio.
Mar 4, 2015, 9:57 AM EST
It took him just 68 decisions.
Mar 4, 2015, 9:21 AM EST
The captain is still proud to be a Maple Leaf.
Mar 4, 2015, 8:49 AM EST
Erik Cole and Marek Zidlicky are set to debut while Henrik Zetterberg might return from a concussion.
Mar 4, 2015, 8:02 AM EST
Wednesday’s collection of links.
Mar 3, 2015, 11:31 PM EST
Some exciting moments from Ducks – Coyotes.
Mar 3, 2015, 11:02 PM EST
The frequent Islanders hitter has two long-ago suspensions.
- Report: Connolly suffers broken finger in Bruins practice 1
- Fehr willing to give Panthers ‘a reasonable opportunity’ to redevelop market 9
- Video: Isles’ Martin to face hearing for ‘stupid’ knee-on-knee hit 36
- NHL on NBCSN: Reloaded Red Wings, Rangers set to battle tonight 51
- Bernier bests Panthers as Luongo goes from injured (and in street clothes) to back in net 4
- Phaneuf, Cuthbert and Lupul threaten lawsuit after tweet goes to air 58
- Doan: Coyotes rebuild was ‘not my idea, not my ideal situation’ 29
- Video: Kessel says the way Toronto media treats Phaneuf is ‘embarrassing’ 47
- Playoff watch — what the bubble teams need to do 9
- Rutherford: ‘Our guys felt very strongly about reacquiring’ Lovejoy 49
- Wild beat Avs, dying seconds fight set stage for rematch (171)
- Petrovic: Chicago will ‘probably seek revenge’ for Kane injury tonight (82)
- Winners and losers of the 2015 trade deadline (78)
- Trade: Blackhawks acquire Vermette from Arizona for Dahlbeck, first rounder (74)
- Wings get Zidlicky from Devils (74)