Florida Panthers 2021 Season Preview
(Al Diaz- Miami Herald)

The Florida Panthers are one of those teams that you forget about. They don’t have any Stanley Cups. They have once conference championship in 1995-96. A lot of teams across the league have a winning culture. Hockey or die mindset. But The Panthers don’t have that. They show up, they play as best they can, and if they lose…oh well. The Panthers haven’t been to the playoffs since 2016, where they lost in the first round. They barely made it to the qualifying round in the bubble where they lost to the New York Islanders.

Key Additions: Patrick Hornqvist (Pittsburgh Penguins) 

He played with Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby in Pittsburgh. He was very good there, he had a lot of points. He’s not going to have the same success in Florida simply because his team isn’t ready but his experience and skill will push them in the right direction.  

Forward Line Predictions: 
Jonathan Huberdeau Aleksander Barkov Patrick Hornqvist 
Frank Vatrano Alexander Wennberg Owen Tippet 
Grigori Denisenko Carter VerhaegheBrett Connolly
Aleksi Saarela Noel Acciari Vinnie Hinostroza 
Defensive Pairing Predictions: 
Mackenzie Weegar Aaron Ekbald 
Keith Yandle Anton Stralman 
Markus Nutivaara Radko Guudas 
In the net: 

I have no idea if Spencer Knight has signed a contract with the Florida Panthers yet but they’d be stupid not to offer him one. He was the starting goalie for the United States National Team in this year’s World Junior Ice Hockey Championships. He had a shutout against Team Canada in the gold medal game on January 5th. 

Team Canada’s goalie, Devon Levi is also a Florida Panthers prospect. 

I would like to know how that first practice is going to go. 

Sergei Bobrovsky was their starting goalie this past season. He had a .900 save percentage which was his worst in his 10-year career in the league. I think it’s time for something new in the Panthers net. 

The Verdict: 

They have a weak defensive zone. A weak defensive zone leads to your other zones being spread too thin, especially goaltending. They have a new GM, Bill Zito, who came from 7 years with the Blue Jackets. He was able to turn the Jackets team around along with the winning culture on the team, hopefully, he can do that in Florida as well. 

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