Florida Panthers fans, you at long last have a team that has a solid foundation, well poised for the future, and buckets of talent currently on show. They are flying under everyone’s radar, hoping to surprise people yet again.
No one really pays much attention to the team who play ice hockey closer to the equator than anyone else.
Most people just don’t think much of the Panthers and that’s the brutal truth. However, that should all be changing very shortly.
— Doug Plagens (@DougPlagens) October 17, 2015
More Than Meets the Eye
What people don’t realize, is that the Panthers have a superb top line since the addition of Jaromir Jagr, to go along with Aleksander Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau, but they also have so much more beyond that.
There’s plenty of other talent amongst the lineup, and the best thing about it, is that talent is full of youth and promise. The Panthers have one of the youngest and most potent cores in the NHL, period.
A core that contains Barkov, Huberdeau, Aaron Ekblad, and Nick Bjugstad, along with a bunch of prospects knocking on the door.
Top notch prospects such as Mike Matheson, Ian McCoshen, Rocco Grimaldi, and this past draft’s top pick Lawson Crouse, amongst several others.
”The goal is to win the Stanley Cup, it is not just to get in the playoffs and lose in the first round. These guys took 79 games to get knocked out and now it’s going to take us 110 games to get knocked out. That’s the belief and that’s the direction we’re headed in. We’re excited about our future.” – Dale Tallon
GM Dale Tallon has done brilliantly building this team from back to front in such a small amount of time. This club does not get the recognition or respect it has earned and deserves.
They have however, taken the necessary steps to ensure that won’t be the case much longer. They will need to get into the playoffs this year though or it will be considered a failure. There are higher expectations to be met now.
To start this new season, the Cats have gone 3-2-1, quietly putting together a solid opening stretch. Last year the Panthers were the most improved team in hockey. Putting up 25 more points than in the previous season.
Now they’ll be looking to build on that success even more in order to make the playoffs this season. Everything is seemingly in place for Florida to start being a team that is feared, rather than forgotten in the NHL.
The Panthers are ready, dust off your rats.
Sebastian Noble is currently in his third year with The Hockey Writers covering the Colorado Avalanche and Florida Panthers. Liverpool, England, and of course Colorado Avalanche & Florida Panthers supporter. You can follow him on Twitter @SebastianHNoble