Florida Panthers 2017-18 Season Preview

I’ve never been able to take the Florida Panthers seriously as a franchise. I understand that winning teams bring fans to games and they haven’t really been a winning team for much of their existence, but it just feels like an apathetic fan base. Someone tell me I’m wrong.

FORWARDS

Jonathan Huberdeau (LW) – The former 3rd overall pick in the 2011 NHL Draft has never really lived up to his hype. Entering his 6th season, he’s only hit the 20-goal mark once. He’s still only 24, but I don’t know if he’ll ever be the star they thought he’d be.

Also, I feel like he ends up in Montreal at some point in his career.

Alexsander Barkov (C) – The 2nd overall pick in 2013 is only 22 but shares the same birthday as me, so I won’t be too hard on him. He’s put up 111 points in 127 games over the last two seasons.

Evgeny Dadonov (RW) – Guess who’s back, back again, Evgeny’s back, tell a friend. I’ll be honest, I had never heard of Dadonov until about two weeks ago, but he was apparently a member of the Panthers from 2009-2012 before going over to the KHL and being really good.

Vincent Trocheck (C) – He was the Panthers leading scorer last season with 54 points. Raise your hand if you knew that.

Notable – Owen Tippett (RW), Radim Vrbata (RW)

DEFENSE

Aaron Eklbad (21) – He took a step back in his 3rd season in the NHL last year. He was a -23 and only put up 21 points. He’s eligible for a bounce-back season. I’m confident his career won’t go the route of Tyler Myers.

Keith Yandle (31) – Yandle The Candle, as I call him. He’ll be good for 40 points this season, with most of them coming on the power-play.

Notable – Alex Petrovic (25)

GOALIES

Roberto Luongo (38) – He wasn’t very good last season, but neither were the Panthers. Maybe there’s a correlation there. That being said, I don’t think he’s over the hill just yet.

James Reimer (29) – He played in 42 games last season, the most of his professional career, and the most at any level since 2006-07 when he was in the Western Hockey League. I don’t know if he’ll ever be an outright number one goalie, but Chris sure believes he should be.

FUN FACTS

1. The Florida Panthers are hosting Star Wars night on December 1 vs. the San Jose Sharks. Get your tickets now! Yay fun. I know nothing about Star Wars.

2. The Panthers have made the playoffs 5 times in 22 seasons. They haven’t won a playoff series since they went all the way to the Finals in 1995-96.

3. Their average attendance last season was 14,621, which is way more than I expected.

4. Last season, they fired their coach and sent him away in a taxi. He is now the head coach of the Vegas Golden Knights. His name is Gerard Gallant and he deserved better, especially after leading the team to a Division Title the year prior.

WHAT CHRIS THINKS

Florida will be an interesting team to watch. They are young, fast, but inexperienced. Their first line is relying on a huge risk in terms of Dadonov coming over from the KHL, who had an impressive season over in Russia but has yet to prove himself in the NHL. Still, with Lou and Reimer, they have one of the most lovable goaltending tandems in the league.

LAST MINUTE OF PLAY

The Florida Panthers are not making the playoffs. Sorry to burst your bubble, Panther fans. They went from winning the division, to finishing 13th in the conference, in the span of 12 months. I don’t know what they’re doing anymore.

They have some good young players, but none of them really strike me as being elite someday, outside of Ekblad.

Maybe Barkov can turn into a 70-point player?

Maybe Huberdeau can stay healthy an entire season and join Barkov?

I don’t know. It just all seems very meh to me.

ONE WILD PREDICTION

Star Wars night will be popular.

POST-GAME

Last Preview: Edmonton Oilers
Next Preview: Los Angeles Kings
Twitter: @CappyTalks

Panthers Talk

What will it take to get you excited about the Florida Panthers?

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About Paul

I think of my blog as an all-you-can-read buffet. There's something for everyone and complimentary mints at the door as you leave.
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6 Responses to Florida Panthers 2017-18 Season Preview

  1. Dutch Lion says:

    The Panthers look bad. Thanks for pointing out Ekblad’s poor stats. I thought he was better than that. Geesh.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Los Angeles Kings 2017-18 Season Preview | The Captain's Speech

  3. Barb Knowles says:

    You are wrong. I have a lot of relatives in Florida and they def have a good fan base. At least in my family. Haven’t you noticed a theme? NFL Jaguars, NHL Panthers

    Liked by 1 person

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