Ice Ice Baby.
There is extreme excitement for Florida Panthers hockey. They have built the team for success; this will be the season to prove it and capitalize on it.
The NHL experts have the Panthers as a top-five team entering the season.
NHL.com has the Panthers rated as the 3rd best team entering the 2021-22 season; again, the hype is real.
Aaron Ekblad suffered a season-ending leg injury last march that forced him to miss the playoff run. Building off the previous season will include having a 100% healthy Ekblad, a substantial piece of the Panthers’ blue line. Last season, he was sixth among all NHL skaters in time-on-ice (25:05) and was an all-situations defender.
From the 2014 draft, there are three Panthers who are top five picks on this team from that draft class. It is near All-Star team status.
Up and down, the Panthers’ lineup is talented. Unreal team on paper, and they will have opportunities to show it.
Aleksander Barkov signed an 8-year, 80 million dollar contract extension.
“I knew I had a little slump my first year when Bill was here; we talked it out, we played some tennis, we figured it out,” Barkov stated.
“He chose to be here; he did not want to pursue free agency, Panthers general manager Bill Zito said. “He chose to lock himself in for eight years, the maximum amount of time; that is really important for us.”
Barkov’s signing was not a concern; though it took some time, there was no talk that he would leave South Florida. He was eventually going to sign now, mid-season, or at season end.
The buzz around this team has been tremendous since the Panthers team in the 1996-97 Stanley Cup Finals and had that fantastic start the following season. Excitement has not been any larger since it has been right now.
The team is loaded with talent, and the core players are signed for a while. They don’t have to worry about Jonathan Huberdeau until next year.
This is the deepest Panthers team in franchise history and the most formidable team to make from their training camp.
The Panthers in the past have mentioned the goal is to win Stanley Cups and be echoed my hidden laughs. This team is a Stanley Cup contender; it is as good as any team in the top four in the NHL. The argument can be made the Tampa Bay Lightning and Florida Panthers are the two best teams in the entire Eastern Conference.
Panthers need to win a playoff series; they have not done that since 1996. They are a lock to make the playoffs.
The Panthers expect a big season from Sergei Bobrovsky, and Spencer Knight is worth the chips and the dip. He is 20 years of age with a maturity level of a 30-year-old. Well beyond his years. The Panthers at the goalie position are impressive.
Let it rain, rats.