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Previewing the East: Florida

Panthers hope UFA signings can bring a winning culture to South Florida

Tuesday, 07.29.2014 / 12:00 AM ET / News
By Bill Roose  - Managing Editor | DetroitRedWings.com
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Previewing the East: Florida
DETROIT – Ready for some hockey?

Sure you are.

The Red Wings don’t open training camp until Sept. 19 in Traverse City, but over the next eight weeks DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose will preview the 15 teams in the Eastern Conference, including the Red Wings’ Atlantic Division rivals in Boston, Tampa Bay, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Florida and Buffalo. This week it's the Florida Panthers:

FLORIDA PANTHERS
Coach: Gerard Gallant

2013-14 INTANGIBLES
Last Year: 29-45-8, 66 points (15th in Eastern Conference)
Detroit vs. Panthers:
2-1-2
5-on-5 Goals:
147 (ninth in Eastern Conference)
Power Play Efficiency:
27-for-269, 10 percent (16th in Eastern Conference)

POINT RANGE
2013-14 Stats Vs. Red Wings
Player POS AGE rank GM G A PT. GM G A PT.
Nick Bjugstad C 22 172 76 16 22 38 5 2 0 2
Scottie Upshall lw 30 179 76 15 22 37 4 1 0 1
Brian Campbell D 35 185 82 7 30 37 5 0 2 2
Brad Boyes RW 32 187 78 21 15 36 5 1 0 1
Sean Bergenheim LW 30 245 62 16 13 29 5 4 0 4
 
IN THE CREASE
2013-14 Stats
Goalie AGE Rank GM W L OTL GAA SV%
Tim Thomas* 40 29 48 18 24 4 2.88 .908
vs. Red Wings
4 3 1 0 2.17 .919






2014-15 OUTLOOK

Regular-Season Games vs. Red Wings: Dec. 2 (at DET); Dec. 12 (at DET); Jan. 27 (at FLA); Mar. 19 (at FLA).

ARRIVALS:  Forwards Jussi Jokinen, Dave Bolland, Shawn Thornton, Derek MacKenzie, defenseman Willie Mitchell, and goalie Al Montoya.

DEPARTURES:  Forwards Scott Gomez, Krystofer Barch and Jesse Winchester, defensemen Ed Jovanovski and Tom Gilbert, and goalie Scott Clemmensen.

Luongo
PLAYER TO WATCH: In the twilight of what has been a solid NHL career, the Panthers are counting on goalie Roberto Luongo to have a bounce-back season. Last season, he posted 25 wins between Vancouver and Florida, but there’s no reason not to think the veteran isn’t capable of collecting 30 or more wins as he did the seven previous seasons before the NHL lockout. GM Dale Tallon believes that acquiring a top-end goaltender like Luongo was a key selling point in attracting prospective free agents this summer. Hard to disagree with the GM on that one.

SEASON SCOPE: Everybody gets overpaid in free agency and the Panthers weren’t bashful when it came to opening the checkbook to sign UFA centers Dave Bolland and Jussi Jokinen. Both veterans have been around winning organizations in the past – Bolland has two Stanley Cup rings with Chicago – and they can certainly help change the hockey culture in South Florida. The Panthers have ranked at or near the bottom in league scoring the past two season, so the addition of Jussinen, who is coming off a tremendous season – he produced 21 goals and 57 points in Pittsburgh – should bolster the offense.

In all, the Panthers signed six players on the first day of free agency, including forwards Shawn Thornton and Derek MacKenzie, defenseman Willie Mitchell, and backup goalie Al Montoya. The 37-year-old Mitchell joins a very young, but extremely defensive unit that includes Erik Gudbranson, Dmitry Kulikov, Alex Petrovic and Aaron Ekblad, this year’s No. 1 overall draft pick.

2014-15 EASTERN CONFERENCE PREVIEWS
Atlantic Division Metropolitan Division
Buffalo (July 24) Carolina (Aug. 7)
Boston (sep. 11) Columbus (Aug. 21)
Florida (July 29) New Jersey (Aug. 14)
Montreal (Sep. 2) NY Islanders (July 31)
Ottawa (Aug. 12) NY Rangers (Aug. 28)
Tampa Bay (Sep. 4) Philadelphia (Aug. 26)
Toronto (Aug. 5) Pittsburgh (sep. 9)
Washington (Aug. 19)




SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 248 187 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 214 184 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 259 206 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 237 199 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 245 224 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 231 211 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 232 208 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 217 204 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 209 201 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 198 213 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 227 248 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 212 223 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 176 209 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 183 219 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 206 257 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 153 269 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
H. Zetterberg 77 17 49 -6 66
P. Datsyuk 63 26 39 12 65
T. Tatar 82 29 27 6 56
G. Nyquist 82 27 27 -11 54
J. Abdelkader 71 23 21 3 44
N. Kronwall 80 9 35 -4 44
R. Sheahan 79 13 23 -3 36
D. Helm 75 15 18 7 33
D. DeKeyser 80 2 29 11 31
S. Weiss 52 9 16 -2 25
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Howard 23 13 11 .910 2.44
P. Mrazek 16 9 2 .918 2.38

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