The Florida Panthers are a team considered to be on the rise. Though many teams can be considered the same, it’s a matter of taking that next step to keep rising that’s most difficult.
Most of the Panthers core players had career years last season, and they must keep on that track if Florida is to make the playoffs this season.
Players such as Jonathan Huberdeau, Aleksander Barkov, Nick Bjugstad, and Aaron Ekblad all need to improve on their season last year for the Panthers to enjoy success.
Next Step Needed
Though they have solid pieces throughout the organization, the Panthers need to step their game up again in order to reach the playoffs this year and in the future. They have one of the most underrated defensive cores in the league, and with Roberto Luongo behind them, it gives the Panthers a chance to win every night.
Add in a nice mix of talented youth and veterans, and you see why there is excitement in South Florida once more. If opening night was any indication, the Panthers are in for a season to be remembered. It only took them their first game to prove that they are indeed taking that next step forward.
Opening Night Sights
The Panthers opened up the 2015-16 NHL season at home against the Philadelphia Flyers. The Cats absolutely walloped the Flyers 7 to 1 to open up their account for the new year.
Florida took control early and did not let their foot off the gas, something which comes back to bite teams way too often in this league. Barkov’s line with Jagr and Huberdeau picked up where they off last year and dominated parts of the game. While the other forwards showed us how skillful they can be.
— NHL (@NHL) October 11, 2015
It was everything you wanted to see if you’re a Panthers fan. Players like Nick Bjugstad, Vincent Trocheck, newcomer Reilly Smith, Brandon Pirri, and Jussi Jokinen give the Panthers that second and possibly even third wave of good attacking forwards.
That combined with their extremely solid defensive play was on show last night, and the Flyers were given front row tickets. Tickets they’d like a refund for, I’m sure.
Time to Build
The Panthers now must build on this huge victory to help boost them off to a great start for their new season. Not only is their current lineup full of promise, but so is the pipeline of prospects they have as well. Florida has one of the deepest prospect pools out there, with a number of them knocking on the NHL door.
Every good team needs depth, and it sure seems like the Panthers have very solid depth in all areas of the ice. Depth which will be called upon when injuries strike or a shake up is needed. They’ve started brilliantly, but it’s only one game, they cannot get too comfortable.
Next up for the Florida Panthers? The very same Philadelphia Flyers, this time in their barn on Monday night. No doubt they will be angry and looking to bounce back big time, it will be very interesting to see how both teams react.
Here are the highlights from the opening night smackdown:
Can the Panthers keep up the pace?
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