Florida Panthers Season Preview History
FLORIDA PANTHERS SEASON PREVIEW:
The Florida Panthers were one of the biggest surprises of the 2011-12 NHL season and finished with a 38-26-18 record and the third spot in the Eastern Conference. Riding a wave of momentum throughout the regular season behind first-year coach Kevin Dineen, the Panthers made their first appearance in the Stanley Cup playoffs since 1999 and surged to a 3-2 lead over the eventual Eastern Conference champion New Jersey Devils. However, the Panthers weren't able to hold their advantage and were knocked out in the first round, but fans have seen their team improve dramatically over the past several years and are hopeful that their boys can take the next step during the 2012-13 season.
Offensively, the Panthers will return largely the same squad that got them into the playoffs last year, including Tomas Fleischmann, who lead the team in points and goals during the 2011-12 season. Along with center Stephen Weiss and winger Kris Versteeg, the Panthers will continue to have one of the most potent first lines in the NHL. The only key acquisition of note for the Panthers this offseason was the addition of forward Peter Mueller, who should bolster the depth along the team's back lines.
The biggest loss for the Panthers was defenseman Jason Garrison, who lead the team in power play goals last season. The Panthers are hoping that newly-signed defenseman Filip Kuba can help to fill that void, along with longtime defensive standouts like Brian Campbell, Mike Weaver and Dmitry Kulikov. At goalie, the Panthers were able to retain backup goaltender Scott Clemmensen, who proved to be a valuable asset during the team's playoff stretch. Of course, the starting goalie duties will continue to be locked down by Jose Theodore, who posted a .917 save percentage during the 2011-12 season.
The Florida Panthers' season will kick off on October 13 against the Tampa Bay Lightning, and the team will hoist its 2011-12 Southeast Division Championship to the rafters in what is expected to be a special moment for Panthers' fans. The team will play important home games against the New York Rangers in a New Year's Eve showdown, and will host the defending Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings on March 30th. While the team has certainly undergone its fair share of changes in the offseason, the squad has high hopes that they can continue their quest for their first Stanley Cup.
2011-12 Playoff Preview:
#3 Florida Panthers vs. #6 New Jersey Devils
Don’t let the seeding fool you, the Devils are the favorite in this matchup. New Jersey won 10 more games than the Panthers this season and have more players with playoff experience than Florida, which is easy to have when the Panthers haven’t been to the postseason since 2000.
With three players cracking the 30-goal margin and resurgence of Patrick Elias, New Jersey is being picked by many to get far into the postseason. With the all-time NHL leader in games, wins and shutouts in net in Marty Brodeur, the Devils are looking at old hands to make a difference against a young Florida team.
A good battle to watch will be Florida’s strong power play against New Jersey’s penalty kill. The Devils had an 89.58% kill this season which ranks #1 in NHL history.
Florida Panthers 2011-2012 Season Preview:
In anticipation of the 2011-12 season, the Panthers hope to change their luck with a number of notable changes including hiring retired Canadian player Kevin Dineen as head coach, signing and trading for a number of new players such as Brian Campbell and Kris Versteeg, and reintroducing the color red to the team's home jerseys.
The Panthers begin their season away against the New York Islanders on October 8. Their first home game at BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Florida will be held October 15 against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Florida Panthers 2010-2011 NHL Preview:
The Florida Panthers achieved an ignominious record last season. By missing out on the playoffs yet again, they became the first team to miss the post season for nine consecutive years in the same city. After a last place finish in the Southeast division last season, the Panthers will be looking to inch closer to a return to the playoffs for the first time since the 1999-2000 season.
Center Stephen Weiss is the team's leading returning goal scorer, with 29 goals last year. He will be joined by two recent additions to the front line, Andrew Peters and Marty Reasoner. While the pair may not provide the dynamic scoring that the team desperately needs, they will certainly add depth to the offense.
The good news for Panthers fans is that the team is full of young talent that may develop in the years to come. One of the bright spots on this Florida team is the strong netminding of goalie Tomas Vokoun. The veteran goaltender managed a 2.55 goals against average a year ago behind a porous defense. Unfortunately, his support will not be very much improved this year as the Panthers got him little help this offseason.
Florida Panthers 2009-2010 NHL Preview:
The expectations for the Florida Panthers are not high as they enter the 2009-2010 NHL season. The Panthers made a strong push last year, but ultimately finished just short of making the playoffs. Which was the 8th straight season that Florida missed the NHL playoffs. This year the Panthers will be looking to rebound and scrap their way into one of the eight spots in the Eastern Conference. Panthers Head Coach Bryan McCabe will led the charge for Florida on what should be an exciting season.