Thursday, April 26, 2012
Thanks For Coming Out, Florida Panthers
For a team that was a majority of trades and free agents, the chemistry of the Panthers was something to be seen. It all seemed to come together and while they played in a weak division, they made the most of the chances they were given. Now, they have momentum to build off of.
Goaltending is an interesting topic, as Jose Theodore still has a year left on his contract-- which we all know is the best for Theodore since he always plays well in contract years-- but Jacob Markstrom could be ready to take over the Panthers net. Though, do you give Theodore another look or is it time to move a rookie in net in order to see what happens with the future of the team??
The defense has a nice mix of youth and experience, with the experience tied into contracts for the long-term. Ed Jovanovski is a great teacher for the likes of Erik Gudbranson and Dmitri Kulikov; while Brian Campbell can play the role of middle man when it comes to transition. Campbell is a guy who could make or break a defense and it seems he's working well in Kevin Dineen's system, which bodes well of all involved.
With the Panthers young core of offensive power, it's easy to see how many would be threatened with their ability to score if they wanted to. Tomas Fleischmann had a great comeback year from a serious health condition, while Kris Versteeg helped his cause for a new contract. Especially with Jonathan Huberdeau in the juniors coming through the system, they'll just be getting better. Plus, the well-rounded players in Marcel Goc and Sean Bergenheim will prove to give the Panthers depth come next season.
All-in-all, the Panthers really burst onto the scene in a big way, but the point for them now is to not fade off into the sunset. They have the motivation and know what it takes to get to the playoffs and win-- which means that they can either be content with what they have or keep going after it. With Kevin Dineen at the helm, you know that the latter is the only option.