I repeat it year after year.
October is a month we should not take for granted. The start of the MLB playoffs, the NBA, NFL and the drop of the hockey puck to start the NHL season.
The team I will be journaling about is the Florida Panthers.
This team who plays just outside the city if Miami wants to win. Winning is the goal. I see it without asking.
A turbulent season on and off the ice saw the Panthers fall back out of the playoff picture last season. Changes have been made in the front office, behind the bench, and on the ice, and it could mean a trip back to the post-season.
The Panthers are 45-1 odds to win the Stanley Cup Final, but our motto is “faith in the game” right?
The new faces on this Panthers roster include Evgeny Davydov, RW; Henrik Haapala, LW; Owen Tippet, RW; and Radim Vrbata, RW. The departed are Jaromir Jagr, RW; Jonathan Marchessault, RW; Reilly Smith, RW; Jussi Jokinen, LW; and Michael Sgarbossa, C
The team was a disappointment last season. They took many steps backward on the ice and the front office was chaos. But, they took out the garbage per say and handed the keys to Aston Martin to the young players on this roster. The 2017 10th overall selection Owen Tippett, a player who has elite offensive skills will be fun to watch. Winning will help his name pop out in a rookie class full of talent.
Bob Boughner behind the bench and Dale Tallon back commanding the hockey operations department, there should be a lot more off-ice stability and a peaceful front office this year.
A healthy Jonathan Huberdeau will only help the Panthers since he missed over half of the year last season. Vincent Trocheck and the addition of Evgeny Dadonov and Florida could have some true threats on its attack moreover will give the Panthers hope. Aleksander Barkov is only improving for the Panthers.
The defense side of the puck only struggled last season and there is uncertainty with Aaron Ekblad’s health. The goaltending, with a 38-year-old Roberto Luongo and career backup James Reimer leading the way, is a bit iffy. Collectively, the Panthers are a little bit more aggressive on the offensive side of the puck.
This is a team game with coaching behind it. Panthers finishing 5th in the Atlantic is a worst-case scenario. The Panthers are getting back on course after a disastrous season, but they will likely need more prowl to seriously challenge for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.