As we enter the last month of 2011 that won’t have any NHL hockey in it, I find myself trying to picture how this season’s Florida Panthers will compare to last season. We know that TSN’s Craig Button and Sportsnet’s Mike Brophy said the Panthers will be no better this season than they were in last year’s campaign. While I strongly disagree with that assessment, especially in the attitude, leadership and intangibles departments, I wanted see how the statistics match up.
So I took the skaters on the roster from last season out of training camp and picked out the players who were no longer in Sunrise. Those players are Steven Reinprecht, Chris Higgins, Cory Stillman, Rostislav Olesz, Radek Dvorak, Michael Frolik, Steve Bernier, Darcy Hordichuk, Bryan McCabe, Bryan Allen and Dennis Wideman.
During last year’s campaign, those players compiled 80 goals and 179 assists. That’s an average of 7.2 goals and 16.2 assists per player. The top goal scorer was Higgins with 13 (and not all of them were in Florida). Wideman’s 30 assists were tops in that category.
To contrast, I took the totals of the following players expected to be on this season’s final roster that were not in Sunrise at the start of last season. Those players are: Sean Bergenheim, Matt Bradley, Evgeny Dadonov, Tomas Fleischmann, Marcel Goc, Tomas Kopecky, Jack Skille, Scottie Upshall, Kris Versteeg, Brian Campbell, and Ed Jovanovski.
Those eleven players produced a total of 100 goals and 168 assists. That’s an average of 9.0 goals and 15.2 assists per player. Upshall’s 22 lamplighters were tops in goals, while Kopecky had the most assists with 27.
While the average numbers don’t bare out much in terms of difference, how much of a difference would 20 extra goals had made? Of course, the timeliness of the goals is paramount but another 20 goal scorer could have made a big impact, pre-trade deadline of course.
Time (and goaltending) will be the ultimate judge, but I’m still of the belief the Cats will be far better than last season, despite not a huge disparity in the numbers. Enough talking about it, let’s play hockey already!
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Tags: Bryan Allen Chris Higgins Cory Stillman Craig Button Darcy Hordichuk Dennis Wideman Ed Jovanovski Evgeny Dadonov Florida Panthers Jack Skille Kris Versteeg Marcel Goc Matt Bradley Michael Frolik Mike Brophy Radek Dvorak Rostislav Olesz Scottie Upshall Sean Bergenheim Steve Bernier Steven Reinprecht Tomas Fleischmann Tomas Kaberle