Mid Summer Reports: Florida Panthers

downloadBy Wayne Hallee @waynehallee9 at thehockeynuts.com
As we enter the dog days of summer, activity around the NHL slows down.  Most of the big-name free agents are off the board, and everyone is enjoying some much needed time off before everything heats up in the fall.  During this time, we are taking a look at all 30 teams to see where they are and what they still need to do.  Today, we look at the Florida Panthers

Last Season’s Finish:  47-26-9, 103 pts, 1st in the Atlantic Division, lost in the first round of the playoffs

Key Arrivals:

  • F Jaren McCann (Trade)
  • D Keith Yandle (Trade)
  • D Mark Pysyk (Trade)
  • G James Reimer (UFA)
  • F Colton Sceviour (UFA)
  • D Jason Demers (UFA)

Key Departures:

  • D Erik Gudbranson (Vancouver)
  • F Rocco Grimaldi (Colorado)
  • D Dmitri Kulikov (Buffalo)
  • D Brian Campbell (Chicago)
  • G Al Montoya (Montreal)
  • F Quinton Howden (Winnipeg)
  • F Teddy Purcell (Los Angeles)
  • D Willie Mitchell (retired)

Breakthrough Candidates:

  • F Jared McCann
  • D Michael Matheson

Unsigned RFA’s (as of 8/12)

  • none

Current Cap Situation as of 8/12/16(source: generalfanager.com)

  • League salary ceiling: $73,000,000
  • League salary floor: $54,000,000
  • Current salary cap hit: $69,283,332
  • Current salary cap space: $3,716,668

 

Expected active roster

Forwards
Aleksander Barkov, Dave Bolland, Vincent Trocheck, Nick Bjugstad, Jaromir Jagr, Jussi Jokinen, Reilly Smith, Jonathan Huberdeau, Derek Mackenzie, Colton Sceviour, Jared McCann, Jonathan Marchessault, Greg McKegg, Shawn Thornton
Defensemen
Keith Yandle, Jason Demers, Jakub Kindl, Mark Pysyk, Alex Petrovic, Aaron Ekblad, Michael Matheson, Steven Kampfer
Goalies
Roberto Luongo, James Reimer, Reto Berra

 

Outlook:

 

Florida had their best regular season in franchise history last season, finishing with 103 points, and winning the Atlantic Division title.  They earned just their 5th playoff berth in their 22 year history.  Unfortunately, they lost in the first round of the playoffs to the New York Islanders.  But, it was a big step in the right direction for a team that has struggled with attendance issues during the last several years.  They have made a bunch of moves over the summer, but most of them involved role players and older veterans.  With the exception of Jaromir Jagr, Dave Bolland, and Jussi Jokinen, who are all returning this fall, this team’s core is made up of a bunch of guys under the age of 25.  This group was left intact from last season to this season, so it is reasonable to expect that the Panthers will continue to be one of the best teams in the Atlantic Division again this season.  In fact, fans in Florida should be excited as this team should remain competitive for years to come, as long as they can hang on to their core of young guns like Barkov, Trochek, Bjugstad, Smith, Huberdeau, and Ekblad.