With the departure of Marty Reasoner to the New York Islanders via free agency, the need to find for a center to play on the 3rd line became important. The Florida Panthers fit the bill with the signing of C Marcel Goc from the Nashville Predators. Goc’s 2010-2011 season was derailed by a shoulder injury that finally required season-ending surgery in February. To that point, he had compiled 24 points (9 G) and a +10 rating through 51 games, only six points shy of his career best total.
Since I hadn’t seen too many Predators games the past few seasons, I enlisted the help of Preds guru Buddy Oakes, who runs Preds On the Glass. He gave me this insight into what we can expect from Goc:
– Good two-way center with offensive upside
– Potential 20g/20a guy
– Was coming into his own offensively before shoulder injury
Add into that the fact that Goc is also a great faceoff guy and it sounds like the Cats picked up a younger version of Reasoner. One would expect him to only center the third line, but also lead a penalty kill unit, where his faceoff ability where really come in handy (and making Assistant Coach Gord Murphy really happy). And while his name is not one of the flashier names out there, the tools he brings are things that all successful teams need. In terms of value for the dollar, he might end up the best signing of the Panthers free agent class if he’s now healthy and able to regain last season’s form. It also continues what seemed to be a priority this offseason, adding forwards who are big (Goc is 6-1, 202) but who are also physical and play both ends of the ice. As a fan, you have to hope that with enough of those guys around, it spreads to the talented fowards the Panthers already have who don’t always look to get dirty on the defensive end.
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