2013-14 Season Preview: Florida Panthers



Regular Season:  One season removed from winning the Southeast Division for the first time, the Panthers struggled to score goals, and finished with the worst record in the Eastern Conference (and the league).  The lone bright spot on an otherwise dismal season was the Calder Trophy performance by Jonathan Huberdeau for the NHL’s rookie of the year.

Playoffs:  Florida missed the playoffs by an astounding 19 points, which is pretty remarkable for a 48 game season.

Apr 25, 2013; Sunrise, FL, USA; Florida Panthers head coach Kevin Dineen in the second period against the the Toronto Maple Leafs at the BB


Out: F Stephen Weiss, F Jack Skille, D Filip Kuba, G Jose Theodore

In: F Scott Gomez, F Bobby Butler, F Joey Crabb, D Matt Gilroy

Ready To Make The Jump:  F Aleksander Barkov


 1.  Is Barkov Ready:  The Panthers passed on both Seth Jones and Jonathan Drouin to take the Finnish forward who they hope is NHL ready.  They need him to have an offensive presence to provide some semblance of a dangerous forward unit.

2.  Markstrom Time:  The Panthers have been patient with their top goaltending prospect Jacob Markstrom.  That patience is about to run out, and it is time for the Swede to produce some results.  Probably is the best option for #1 goalie.

3.  Retreads:  The Panthers brought in a bunch of outcasts in Gomez, Butler and Gilroy.  They still are shallow up front and will have trouble to score goals until more of their prospect develop.

PROGNOSIS:  They aren’t in the Southleast any more, and the new-look Atlantic Division will prove to be a whole new animal for the Panthers, with 5 of the 8 teams in the division coming off playoff appearances.  The Panthers win their division two seasons ago after taking on a lot of salary.  Those moves didn’t last, and they fell back to earth. That isn’t going to change

PREDICTION:  The Panthers might improve, but nowhere near enough to make noise in their new division.  8th place in the Atlantic Division.

We will be previewing every NHL team ahead of Training Camp which for most teams will begin on Sept 11th.  As a twist, we will be unveiling our teams in reverse order to how I predict they will finish in the standings.  Here is the schedule (you can click on a team name to see the preview for that team):

1Sept 9Sept 8Sept 7Sept 6
2Sept 5Sept 4Sept 3Sept 2
3Sept 1Aug 31Aug 30Aug 29
4Aug 28Aug 27Aug 26Aug 25
5Aug 24Aug 23Aug 22Aug 21
6Aug 20Aug 19Aug 18Aug 17
7Aug 16Aug 15Aug 14Aug 13

Check back tomorrow to see who will be the basement dweller in the Pacific Division!