There is a lot going on involving the Florida Panthers so lets just jump right into it. Here is all the latest buzz from Pantherland:
- It looks like Sean Bergenheim will be making his season debut tonight against the Sabres after missing the last 18 months with a series of lower body injuries. (Miami Herald) Bergenheim sat out the entire 2012-13 season and the last time he played in the NHL was in game 7 of the 2012 playoffs against the New Jersey Devils. Bergy was an integral part of that 2011-12 team that won the Southeast Division, scoring 17 goals in 62 games during the regular season. The Panthers are hoping Bergenheim’s return will help spark an offense that has been sputtering all season. It looks like Bergenheim will be playing on the fourth line tonight with Scott Gomez and Jesse Winchester.
- Now its time for everyone’s favorite subject: trade rumors! The buzz the last few weeks has been that a lot of the Panther veterans could be on the market. Dmitry Kulikov‘s name has bounced around but Dale Tallon dismissed that rumor as ‘hearsay’. Whether or not the Panthers want to deal Kulikov, it appears that the Leafs are just one of many teams interested in the 22-year-old’s services:
Dreger on TSN Radio “I spoke to Dale Tallon this week & I’d be comfortable saying the Leafs have interest in Kulikov. So do 20 other teams”
— Hope_Smoke (@Hope_Smoke) October 23, 2013
- I wrote a column yesterday about the importance of tonight’s game against the Buffalo Sabres. Essentially, this game is important because a loss to the Sabres puts the Panthers in that conversation with the rest of the league’s cellar dwellers. I like to think that the Panthers are a tier above the worst teams in the league and by winning tonight they can keep that option open.
- On a similar note, this whole weekend is huge for the Panthers. After the Sabres game on Friday the Tampa Bay Lightning come to town for a Sunday matinee. These are two very winnable home games and if the Panthers take them both then they will be right back in the thick of things in the Eastern Conference.