The Panthers had one of their best seasons ever last year. A division title, a huge surge in fan interest and an absolute dog fight in their first playoff appearance in a very long time. Most of their talent was retained, and a bit more was added. Some questions remain about key positions, but for year over year improvement two seasons ago to last year, the organization has a lot to be proud of.
- Their young players gained valuable experience last season.
- They retained their core.
- Their coach has had a full season to learn the tendencies of most of the roster.
- It is still the the Southeast division so they can count on at least two of their division rivals to be a hot mess all season.
- Depth at center and proper use of players their has yet to be addressed, Peter Mueller might help, but his health is only slightly better than Rick Dipietro’s.
- The goalie tandem is still old and highly variable in quality.
- The quest for a solid trio to make a quantifiable number one line this season will be ongoing.
High: 89-97 points They were not a healthy squad last with just one top six forward, and one top defender playing in all 82 games. They had a lot of help from a division that was quite mediocre.
Low: If the wheels come off the goaltending, or the other teams in the division play just well enough to get three more regulation wins each the Panthers are going to be crispy kitties. They realistically they need to play better than last season to get the same results.
If the Panthers manage to pull off a trade for a quality center or goaltender that can contribute a lot to the teams success this because a whole new game. If there is a sophomore slump behind the bench things could get ugly fast.