Florida Panthers Details
After the best season in franchise history in 2015-16, the Florida Panthers looked poised for a long stint of dominance in the Atlantic Division and possibly a chance at a Stanley Cup. Before the 2016-17 season even began, however, Florida was hampered by injuries to some of its best players including Jonathan Huberdeau and Nick Bjugstad. Despite this, the Panthers were able to get off to an average start under head coach Gerard Gallant. Yet, after an 11-9-1 start without two of the team’s best players, Gallant was fired and replaced with GM Tom Rowe. The Panthers never recovered from this shocking change and went 24-27-10 under Rowe, missing the playoffs one year after tallying 103 points.
2017-18 is a new year and Florida will look to regain some of its dominance from two seasons ago. The good news is that the core of the team is returning, including center Aleksander Barkov, who really came into his own last season despite missing 21 games. He has 21 goals and 31 assists in 61 games. Center Vincent Trocheck led the team in points last year with 54 (23 goals, 31 assists) and he’ll be a vital part of the Panthers’ offense once again this season. The key for Florida is health, which was one of the team’s downfalls last year. Important players like Jussi Jokinen missed 13 games. Huberdeau missed 51 games and defenseman Aaron Eklbad missed 14. If the Panthers can stay healthy, the fans at BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida should be in for a much more enjoyable year.