The start of the 2013-14 NHL season may be months away but it is never too early to start projecting who will make up the Florida Panthers’ roster. From time to time during the coming months, The Rat Trick will be doing these roster projections. Keep in mind that at this point in the off-season these projections are %99.9 guesswork and they are intended to be fun/interesting more than anything else. Hopefully they will spark some interesting conversation as well. Below is the Panther roster that I imagine we might see come October. If you have any thoughts, disagreements, points of contention etc feel free to share them in the comments section below.
This and that:
- Yes I cheated a bit with the forwards trying to squeeze as many players as I could into the twelve roster spots but damn this was a lot harder than I thought it would be.
- The Panthers are loaded at the center position. With Matthias, Shore, Bjugstad, Goc, Trocheck, Barkov and Winchester all listed as centers it is pretty hard to whittle it down to just four. This means Goc, one of the best face-off men on the team gets bumped out of the center position. I am not entirely confident with that move as Goc is probably the best defensive center on the team and I have not ever seen him play much on either wing. Matthias has spent time playing on the wings but part of his success last season was due to him moving back to his natural center position. Barkov seems like a lock in the middle which leaves Shore and Bjugstad as potentially candidates to switch to wing.Will the Panthers make a move to open up spots for their young players? Maybe. What I see as the most likely scenario is the team putting out the 12 best players night in and night out which means some centers will have to play out of position. While it makes my job more difficult, having too many quality centers is a good problem to have for the Panthers.
- Rumors have been floating around that the Panthers have been shopping Tomas Fleischmann. Moving Flash makes sense if the Panthers are being truthful when they talk about going with their young players this season. Fleischmann’s departure would open up space on the roster and alleviate some of the log jam keeping some young players off the roster.
- What do the Panthers have in Bobby Butler and Joey Crabb? I have no idea. Therefore they occupy the same roster spot and we will put any decisions regarding them on hold until we know more.
- There has been a lot of hype surrounding Vincent Trocheck but with the amount of centers the Panthers have on their roster, I think the Panthers would be happy to start him off in the AHL to allow him to adjust to the professional game.
- The defense and goalies are much easier to project. The toughest decision involves picking either the veterans Mike Mottau and Ed Jovanovski or the youngsters Alex Petrovic and Colby Robak. I am just going to stick with the history here and assume Mottau and Jovo will be injured thus I am penciling in Petrovic and Robak.
So there you have it. If the season were to start today, that is the roster I think we would see. What do you think? Which young players do you think make the team? Which do you think will miss the cut? Share your thoughts below and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook.