Florida Panthers News, Trades & Opinions

Weekly Cat Nip: Panthers Off to a Slow Start

Weekly Cat Nip: Panthers Off to a Slow Start

October 15th, 2018 Welcome to the first edition of Weekly Cat Nip, your Monday morning fix of Florida Panthers coverage. During the season, we'll dive into game recaps and storylines from each week. At this point, 12 days into the season, the Panthers have played three games and none have gone exactly how they had...
Luongo's Injury Impacts Panthers Profoundly

Luongo's Injury Impacts Panthers Profoundly

October 8th, 2018 In their Oct. 6 season opener against the Tampa Bay Lightning, Florida Panthers goaltender Roberto Luongo went down with an injury around the 32-minute mark. The result of teammate Frank Vatrano falling on him, Luongo left the game with a lower-body injury. Since then, he has been diagnosed with an...

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September 22nd, 2018
Florida Panthers

On Monday, Sept. 17, the Florida Panthers announced Derek MacKenzie would be relinquishing captain duties to Aleksander Barkov. The Panthers drafted Barkov second overall in 2013 and has centered the Panthers' first line since Jaromir Jagr joined the team at the 2015 Trade Deadline. Barkov had a breakout season last year, notching 78 points in 79 games. At 23 years old, he becomes the 10th, and youngest, captain in Panthers history and second youngest in the league to Connor McDavid. Young Leadership Core This is the beginning of a transition to hand over the reins of the team to the young guns. After what felt like dozens of years of conditioning, it finally appears as though they can do the heavy lifting on and off the ice. The remainder of the Panthers' leadership group for this season comes in the form of Aaron Ekblad, Jonathan Huberdeau, Vincent Trocheck, and Keith Yandle. Yandle is the veteran voice among this group, while the other three were all drafted by the Panthers as...
September 22nd, 2018
Florida Panthers

The notion of a “window to win” is nothing new when it comes to the National Hockey League and its ultimate prize, the Stanley Cup. In a salary-capped league, it’s not enough for franchises to simply assemble a talented group of players. Instead, teams have to have the right players, on the right contracts, at the right time. The Florida Panthers have painstakingly assembled a very good roster. Most of their core pieces are at or near their prime. Their contract situation is utterly spectacular. And their competition in the Atlantic Division – and Eastern Conference as a whole – is as vulnerable as it’s going to get. The Panthers’ best chance to win is now. Panthers’ Opponents Ripe for Taking Much of the Panthers’ very real potential to win comes courtesy a rather messy Atlantic Division, where the weaker teams are decidedly non-factors, while most of the competitive squads are so unpredictable and chaotic as to inspire confidence in exactly no one. The...
September 20th, 2018
Panthers History

Success in the draft is a vital part of team's on-ice success in the NHL. Hitting on early draft picks means establishing a core that can lead to long-term contention while finding late round gems brings unexpected production and is what makes championship teams. The teams with the most success in recent seasons highlights the need to win on the draft floor. The Washington Capitals had first rounders Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, and Evgeny Kuznetsov, among others, plus Chandler Stephenson, Christian Djoos, and Braden Holtby, all drafted in the third round or later. The Pittsburgh Penguins had Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Olli Maatta from the first round and Kris Letang and Matt Murray as later round selections. Finally, Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, and Brent Seabrook were taken by the Chicago Blackhawks in the first round and Niklas Hjalmarsson was found in the fourth round. The point is that while there are different ways to build a winner, the best path is through...
September 19th, 2018
Panthers History

It is the Florida Panthers' 25th anniversary season this year, throughout which there will be plenty of attention given to past franchise stars like Olli Jokinen and Ed Jovanovski. Before the season, however, is a good time to look back on all of the Panthers' 26 entry drafts. They have hosted the event twice in their history, first in 2001 and then in 2015. We'll see how they fared in each of those as well as the other 24 as we rank each year from 26 to 1. These rankings are subjective, but in determining which drafts were stronger than others, I considered a couple of different things. First, picks are evaluated based on the player's career in hockey, not just with the Panthers. The goal of the draft is to find the best player-- a bad trade does not disqualify a good selection. Additionally, some weight is given to later round picks that were able to have good NHL careers. It is more difficult to find and develop value in the fifth round than say, the first. A straightforward,...