There are a few teams to consider when thinking about the most improved team in the league. Though for my money, it’s an easy decision in the end. The Florida Panthers are the most improved team in the NHL, hands down. Though their playoff hopes are coming to an end, by no means does that suggest this season was a failure. Quite the opposite in fact.
Florida went from an easy team to play against to one of the toughest in a single year. They have had trouble scoring this season, however I doubt that troubles them much longer as it seems like all the young guys are having breakout seasons. Hopefully giving us a glimpse at what the future holds for the team. One thing is for certain, the Cats have improved drastically to get to where they are right meow.
Lottery Team to Playoff Contender
The Cats went from 29th in the league to fighting for the final Eastern playoff wild-card position. The Florida Panthers have nothing to lose now. Regardless of whether they make the playoffs or just miss out. Their season has been a huge leap in the right direction. They have improved in pretty much every single area this year.
Pretty soon we won’t be hearing about the lack of attendance in South Florida. Pretty soon those empty seats will be filled again with fans and the rest of the NHL won’t enjoy coming down to sunny Florida to play a hockey game.
The Future is Very Bright in South Florida
No longer are the days of mediocrity and blind hope for Panthers fans. Dale Tallon is building a very good hockey team. Maybe even a great team. Florida has an awesome mix of youth and experience. Starting in net with Olympic gold-winning goaltender Roberto Luongo. There’s also Stanley Cup winners Willie Mitchell, Brian Campbell, and Jaromir Jagr. Add a young core of skaters such as Aleksander Barkov, Jonathan Huberdeau, Nick Bjugstad, Brandon Pirri, Aaron Ekblad, and Dmitry Kulikov amongst others, and this team is set to contend in the near future.
The Florida Panthers still have a decent amount of talent in the system, so even more names will be coming into the fold as well. Rats will soon be thrust onto the ice with fury and passion once again, as we have seen glimpses of their return in the recent past. The future is very bright in South Florida, better put on your sunglasses.
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