Earlier this week I was on the Hockey News website and read that the annual yearbook was soon to be on it’s way to all subscribers. I eagerly would come home from work anxious to get “the mail” and see if it was in the box. Kind of like waiting for that present coming from that out of town relative that you used to get every year! Sure enough, in Thursday’s mail was the 2009-2010 edition of the Hockey News Yearbook!
MY BIBLE HAD ARRIVED!
I quickly opened it up and immediately went to the Florida Panthers section to see the prediction, and was aghast at what I saw! A 12th place finish in the conference?! What! How disrespectful! How could they? Don’t they remember that the Panthers finished one point out of a playoff spot last year? Did they forget that it was one of the most exciting playoff runs that the franchise has had since the ’96 Cup Run? Rookie head coach Peter DeBoer had added accountability, implemented a newer more exciting brand of hockey than the watching paint dry system dull defensive style that Jacques Martin had them playing for the last decade 3 years!
I certainly find fault in this prediction and was hoping to see another number instead of 12th. I quickly put the magazine down and gathered my thoughts to try and accept this unbelieveable mockery. Sure the Panthers lost defenseman Jay Bouwmeester to Calgary. But Bryan Allen is expected back from missing all but two games last year from knee surgery. Jordan Leopold who came from the Bouwmeester deal will add some veteran savvy to go along with Keith Ballard, and Bryan McCabe.
Scott Clemmensen was signed as the backup to Tomas Vokoun, so on paper the goaltending looks to be pretty solid.
At the forward position, David Booth is coming off an excellent year, Nathan Horton (re: lazy) will be moved back to wing, Stephen Weiss who we are just waiting for to breakout as the number one center (huh?), form the Sunrise Express Line and will for the teams number one line. Scarry isn’t it! The rest of the forwards will be made up of third and fourth liners, grinders and washed up veterans such as Cory Stillman, newly acquired Steven Reinprecht, Radek Dvorak, and last year’s rookie surprise Michael Frolik. Expected to make the team this year at forward is another prospect Michal Repick.
So you see this roster is made up of some real talent, and some players that have already been through the “maturation process”, and are ready to just explode and take this team to the next level, and get them into the playoffs!
I cannot agree with the assesment and based on what I see am willing to go out on a limb and make my own predition of the season: 13th!
How can I say that you ask? Look at our roster, and then look at the other rosters of teams not only in our division, but in the conference. All kidding aside, I hope, and I mean I really hope I am wrong. But in order for my prediction to be wrong, the organization needs to add some pieces to this puzzle. More on the expectations of the team as we get closer to training camp!
Well, it’s been an incredible first week so far here on The Rat Trick! I hope you’ve all enjoyed what you’ve read, and hope you come back often. Tune in tomorrow, Saturday, for a special treat that you’ll be getting each and every Saturday morning.
Thanks for reading and have a great weekend!