In this edition of the All In Hockey Rountable, we’ll be analyzing how the Florida Panthers offseason went. To help out, Panthers expert Thomas Krulikowski of whyanything.co will be sharing his thoughts too.
Two years ago, I loved what the Panthers did during their offseason. They added a lot of excellent puck movers who could keep possession and they looked like a team on the rise, adding Jason Demers, Keith Yandle, Reilly Smith, and more. However, since reinstating Dale Tallon, they’ve seemed to be moving in the opposite direction now and have looked to undo everything they did in the past. They traded Demers to the Arizona Coyotes, they let the Golden Knights acquire Reilly Smith and Jonathan Marchessault, and refused to resign Jaromir Jagr. Out of the Panthers top eight scorers from last season, only three are still on the team.
I thought the Panthers had a really good roster and were just brought down last season by bad luck. However, with the new changes they’ve made, I’m not nearly as confident in them and think they’re in store for another disappointing campaign. I thought they had one of the worst offseasons out of any team and think it’ll be hard for them to get back into the playoffs with the lineup they now have. Aleksander Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau should still keep the Panthers competitive but a second line of Jamie McGinn, Vincent Trocheck, and Radim Vrbata doesn’t exactly scream playoff team.
Florida’s 2017 offseason started much like the 2016 offseason did for the southern Florida franchise : front office shuffling. Or, re-shuffling.
Did the team go back to their old ways and abandon the new way? Not quite. Newly (old-ly?) named GM Dale Tallon did unload newer players but with the directive to cut money. However, analytics is still vital with the team. Unlike the 2016 offseason, not many jobs were lost outside of the coaching staff, with just roles being re-assigned. Not throwing the baby out with the bath water.
There isn’t much definitive to say about this offseason other than the idea of old school vs new school now must be placed aside. The franchise’s moves this offseason illustrate the new front office goal- the mending of fences from office politics, a re-disciplined budget and ownership group, and taking a step back from pressures of an outwardly stated Cup Window. The team is much better suited now for the future, but the short term is unknown. But with the strength of their young core, a season without competitive March and April hockey will be a disappointment.