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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 - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
H. Zetterberg 82 13 37 -15 50
D. Larkin 80 23 22 11 45
T. Tatar 81 21 24 4 45
G. Nyquist 82 17 26 -2 43
J. Abdelkader 82 19 23 -16 42
M. Green 74 7 28 -6 35
B. Richards 68 10 18 4 28
D. Helm 77 13 13 -2 26
N. Kronwall 64 3 23 -21 26
R. Sheahan 81 14 11 -8 25
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 27 16 6 .921 2.33
J. Howard 14 14 5 .906 2.80