The Florida Panthers Will be Contenders Sooner Rather Than Later
There seems to be a culture change already underway in Sunrise, Florida with the Florida Panthers. Joel Quenneville was hired to be the new head coach during the offseason. Quenneville has won three Stanley Cup titles before with the Chicago Blackhawks before he was fired last November there.
Now, his winning culture appears to be following him to Florida. He has everyone buying into his system. Before the season began, I thought they were going to be a playoff team this season anyways.
The Panthers have not made it to the playoffs since the 2015-2016 season. They lost to the New York Islanders that year. Florida has not won a playoff series since 1995-1996. That was the year where they went to the Stanley Cup Finals and they were swept against the Colorado Avalanche.
On Tuesday night, the Florida Panthers were trailing 4-0 on the road against the Boston Bruins. Florida found a way to come back and win the game by a score of 5-4.
That is a game they would have lost last season. Is it possible that the culture is already changing for the Panthers?
It is quite possible because they currently sit in third place in the Atlantic Division with a 9-4-5 record with 23 points. Florida has scored 67 goals and they have given up 67 goals so far this season.
They have the same amount of points as the Montreal Canadiens. The Florida Panthers are also three points up on the Buffalo Sabres and five points up on the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Florida does trail Boston by three points for first place in the Atlantic Division. This team is playing hard every night and another reason why they have been good so far this season is because of some personnel upgrades during the offseason.
Jonathan Huberdeau and Aleksander Barkov each have recorded 24 points so far this season. Huberdeau has scored nine goals and has recorded 15 assists. His plus/minus is -2. Barkov has scored five goals and has recorded 19 assists. His plus/minus is -2.
Evgenii Dadonov has scored eight goals and has recorded eight assists so far this season. His plus/minus is -1.
Keith Yandle has scored two goals and has recorded 11 assists so far this season. His plus/minus is 4.
Mike Hoffman has scored seven goals and has recorded five assists so far this season. His plus/minus is -1.
Brett Connolly has been one of the key offseason additions. He played with the Washington Capitals last season. Connolly has scored six goals and has recorded five assists so far this season. His plus/minus is 3.
Sergei Bobrovsky signed a seven-year deal in the offseason. He was with the Columbus Blue Jackets last season. Bobrovsky has not been the same so far this season. His record is 6-3-4 with a .881 save percentage and a 3.52 GAA, along with one shutout.
Sam Montembeault is the backup. His record so far this season is 3-1-1 with a .903 save percentage and a 2.06 GAA.
They have one of the best power plays in the league. The percentage is 24.2. Florida has an average penalty kill. Their percentage is 81.6.
It will be interesting to see whether or not they make a trade or two before the trade deadline on February 24, 2020.
The Florida Panthers will be serious contenders for a long time with Joel Quenneville around. They could be a threat to win a playoff round or two this season, but Florida is thinking championship or bust in the long run. The Panthers want free agents to come here more often.
They will continue play on Thursday night against the Winnipeg Jets at home.
How do you feel about the direction of the Florida Panthers? Leave a comment below.
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