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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 WSH 53 40 9 4 175 120 84
2 FLA 54 32 16 6 150 122 70
3 NYR 54 31 18 5 153 135 67
4 NYI 53 29 18 6 150 131 64
5 DET 54 28 18 8 136 132 64
6 BOS 54 29 19 6 159 148 64
7 TBL 53 29 20 4 140 127 62
8 PIT 53 27 19 7 138 135 61
9 NJD 55 27 21 7 122 123 61
10 MTL 55 27 24 4 147 145 58
11 PHI 53 24 20 9 127 138 57
12 CAR 54 24 21 9 130 142 57
13 OTT 56 25 25 6 157 173 56
14 CBJ 56 22 28 6 140 173 50
15 BUF 55 21 28 6 125 151 48
16 TOR 53 19 25 9 122 149 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
D. Larkin 53 18 20 26 38
H. Zetterberg 54 10 27 4 37
T. Tatar 53 16 17 0 33
G. Nyquist 54 14 16 0 30
P. Datsyuk 39 8 21 13 29
J. Abdelkader 54 14 13 -3 27
M. Green 46 4 17 -7 21
N. Kronwall 45 3 14 -10 17
B. Richards 40 5 11 7 16
D. DeKeyser 50 7 8 13 15
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 21 10 4 .934 1.94
J. Howard 7 8 4 .904 2.89