We are six games into the 2013-14 NHL season, the Florida Panthers are 2-4-0. Now is a good time to take a brief look back at these first two weeks. Six games is too small a sample size to make any meaningful assessments but that doesn’t mean we can’t try. Today I want to see what you guys think, which Panther have you been most impressed with six games into the season?
The question is a tough one because no one player has really separated himself from the pack. I think there are about six or so players who have clearly been the Panthers best so far this season. That group consists of Aleksander Barkov, Brad Boyes, Tomas Fleischmann, Scott Gomez, Brian Campbell and Erik Gudbranson. Jonathan Huberdeau, Kris Versteeg and Mike Weaver could be included in that conversation as well.
I could see Marcel Goc‘s name being thrown around but he has been quiet since his two-goal opening night performance. Florida’s bottom six forwards have been virtually nonexistent so far. After starting the year centering the top line, Goc has returned to a third line role with Kopecky and Upshall, and the trio has struggled to apply even the smallest amount of offensive pressure.
Personally, I think the conversation comes down to Barkov, Fleischmann, and Campbell. Campbell and Fleischmann are as steady as they come. We know what to expect from them game in and game out and they rarely fail to deliver. Barkov on the other hand, I was not so sure what to expect going into the season.
What I have seen from Barkov so far is a player with an understanding of the game that belies his age. He has a calming presence on the ice, plays good defense, but also has a nose for the goal. Barkov is like Marcel Goc except with a ridiculous top of the line skill set.
I think Barkov has impressed me the most so far this season, which player has impressed you the most?