Skip to content

It’s Florida Panthers day on PHT

Aug 17, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT

Ryan Whitney, Aleksander Barkov, Tom Gilbert, Jonathan Huberdeau AP

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.

Latest Posts
  1. Not done yet: Lightning earn Game 7 against Red Wings

    Apr 27, 2015, 9:55 PM EDT

    Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat AP

    Some great individual performances propel Tampa Bay.

  2. Milbury throws out rules, much like the NHL

    Apr 27, 2015, 9:36 PM EDT

    Mike Milbury

    Game 7 is one of those “let them play” games.

  3. WATCH LIVE: Tonight’s Stanley Cup Playoff action

    Apr 27, 2015, 6:16 PM EDT

    Nicklas Backstrom, Johnny Boychuk , Thomas Hickey, Marcus Johansson AP

    One Game 7 and one team hoping to force another.

  4. Blues owner ‘disappointed and frustrated,’ but not ready to ‘throw people under the bus’

    Apr 27, 2015, 5:28 PM EDT

    2012 NHL Entry Draft - Rounds 2-7 Getty Images

    Tom Stillman did say “I’m sure there’ll be changes” following another first-round playoff defeat.

  5. Weber has ‘medical procedure’ for ‘subluxed kneecap’

    Apr 27, 2015, 4:56 PM EDT

    Shea Weber AP

    Expected to make full recovery within 4-6 weeks.

  6. NHL issues statement on passing of Hall of Famer Pronovost

    Apr 27, 2015, 4:11 PM EDT

    2006 NHL Entry Draft Portraits Getty Images

    Former Maple Leaf and Red Wing appeared in over 1,200 career games, winning five Stanley Cups.

  7. Despite ‘step in the right direction,’ do Canucks need to alter core?

    Apr 27, 2015, 3:11 PM EDT

    Phoenix Coyotes v Vancouver Canucks Getty Images

    Kevin Bieksa and Dan Hamhuis were each asked if they’d be willing to waive their no-trade clauses.

  8. After hook versus Canucks, Hartley says ‘no question’ Hiller starts against Ducks

    Apr 27, 2015, 2:47 PM EDT

    Jonas Hiller Getty Images

    Flames head coach Bob Hartley confirmed the decision on Monday.

  9. Rangers lose Zuccarello indefinitely with suspected concussion

    Apr 27, 2015, 12:45 PM EDT

    Pittsburgh Penguins v New York Rangers - Game Five Getty Images

    Diminutive forward left Game 5 after taking a shot to the helmet.

  10. NBCSN to air every Team USA game at Worlds

    Apr 27, 2015, 12:31 PM EDT

    Germany v United States - 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship Getty Images

    Tournament begins May 1 in the Czech Republic.

Featured video

Price brilliant for Habs
Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. Z. Kassian (2721)
  2. A. Burrows (2433)
  3. S. Weber (2240)
  4. M. Giordano (2034)
  5. K. Letang (1926)
  1. D. Carcillo (1838)
  2. T. Hamonic (1730)
  3. L. Bouma (1724)
  4. C. Ehrhoff (1709)
  5. M. Zuccarello (1676)