ZADS: Eastern Conference Preview- Florida Panthers

by Chris Zadorozny (@Zads07)

In the 11th preview of 15 Eastern Conference teams, we examine another possible bottom feeder in the Atlantic Division. This team can’t seem to stay stable, despite a return to the playoffs in 2012, the team finished dead last in 2013.

Panthers Preview 2013History

  • Joined the NHL in 1993 as part of expansion along with Anaheim.
  • 0 Stanley Cups
  • 1 Conference Championship (1995-1996)
  • 1 Division Championship (2011-2012)

2013 stats: Top 5 players

Tomas Fleischmann (12 G, 23 A, 35 PTS), Jonathan Huberdeau (14 G, 17 A, 31 PTS), Tomas Kopecky (15, 12 A, 27 PTS), Brian Campbell (8 G, 19 A, 27 PTS), Shawn Matthias (14 G, 7 A, 21 PTS)

2013 Team Rankings

29th in Goals/Game (2.27), 30th in Goals Against (3.54), 6th in Power Play (20.4%), 30th in Penalty Kill (74.2%)

Goaltender Situation

  • Jacob Markstrom (23 GP, 8 W, 14 L, 1 OTL, .901 SV%, 3.22 GAA)
    • Markstrom was the starter last year and is the expected starter this year, unless Tim Thomas comes in and steals the job on the Professional Tryout Contract (PTO).
  • Scott Clemmensen (19 GP, 3 W, 7 L, 2 OTL, .874 SV%, 3.67 GAA)
    • Clemmensen was the backup to Markstrom last year. He could be the backup this year.

Markstrom was the starter last year is the expected starter coming into this season, and Clemmensen is the expected backup coming into this season. Only one problem, Tim Thomas was signed to a PTO (Professional Tryout Contract) for the pre-season, and could steal away either job. It’s going to be a battle throughout the entire pre-season.

Offseason Moves

Additions: F Phillipe Lefebvre (Trade/Montreal), F Joey Crabb (Free Agent/Washington), D Mike Mottau (Free Agent/Toronto), D Matt Gilroy (Free Agent/NYR), F Jon Matsumoto (Free Agent/San Jose), F Scott Gomez (Free Agent/San Jose), F Steven Pinizzotto (Free Agent/Vancouver)

Losses: F Corban Knight (Trade/Calgary), F George Parros (Trade/Montreal), F Stephen Weiss (Free Agent/Detroit), F Jack Skille (Free Agent/Columbus), D Tyson Strachan (Free Agent/Washington), D Nolan Yonkman (Free Agent/Anaheim), F Zach Hamill (Free Agent/Vancouver)

Games vs. Red Wings

  • Saturday, December 7, 2013 vs. Florida (7:00pm)
  • Tuesday, December 10, 2013 @ Florida (7:30pm)
  • Sunday, January 26, 2014 vs. Florida (5:00pm)
  • Thursday, February 6, 2014 @ Florida (7:30pm)

The Florida Panthers could be decent this year, but considering their history, it’s unlikely. They have some decent players, but losing their leader Weiss to the Red Wings is going to hurt. Bringing in Gilroy to shore up the defense and taking a chance on Gomez could work out, but the Panthers still need a lot of work to be considered a contender in the conference, let alone the league.

To read the original post that appeared on Sports Radio Detroit, on September 23, 2013, go to www.sportsradiodetroit.com

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