Isles Talk continues it’s 2014-15 season preview with a team that I have absolutely no clue how well they will do this year, the Florida Panthers. Forget about last year, the Panthers upgraded their team at the draft and during the off season to the point that the last time the Panthers did this, they won the Division.
2013-14 Record: 29-45-8 66 points; 7th in Atlantic Division; 15th in Eastern Conference
Additions: F Dave Bolland, F Jussi Jokinen, F Shawn Thornton, F Derek MacKenzie, D Willie Mitchell, G Al Montoya, D Greg Zanon
Subtractions: D Matt Gilroy, D Ed Jovanovski, F Jesse Winchester, G Scott Clemmensen, D Tom Gilbert
My take: Don’t underestimate the drafting of Aaron Ekblad as he will be a very good defenseman for the Panthers now and in their future. The goalie situation is solved with a full year of Luongo and Montoya. The only debate between those two is this: Who has the better hair?
Seriously though. I don’t know where to put them. They are certainly better than a 66 point team. How high they want to go will depend on their health and how much improvement we’ll see from their younger players like Barkov, Bjugstad and Huberdeau. Division title seem unlikely this time around, but a surprise run at the playoffs is not out of the question.