Don’t get me wrong, if what transpired yesterday for the Florida Panthers is all they do this deadline – call them winners. They went against conventional methods and decided to add big names and resign their best veteran player, not something you see out of a team near the bottom of the standings.
But lost in all of the excitement of Roberto Luongo coming back to Sunrise is a problem that was evident in last night’s loss to the Boston Bruins.
The problem isn’t all in the goaltender or the lack of goal scoring (though that really is a problem they still need to address), because no matter who you throw into net or who you bring in to score goals – if you don’t have strong play in your own end – you are going to finish at the bottom of the standings every year.
Turnovers and even more turnovers left the Bruins with prime scoring opportunity after opportunity that not even the best goaltender could stop.
On David Krecji’s first goal of the game, the Panthers turned the puck over not once but twice including giving Krecji the puck right in front of the net with more than enough time to carefully pick his spot.
Jarome Iglina would make the game 2-0 after pounding home a wide rebound from Tim Thomas. Iglina was left unguarded by Captain Ed Jovanovski who was in position to make a play on Iglina’s stick, had he been skating with any effort at the time.
Plays like this is what dooms you to the bottom of the standings more often than the inability to score. While the Panthers certainly have promising young players on the blueline, all the talent in the world isn’t worth anything if you consistently turn the puck over or aren’t hustling.
The Panthers have a great core of young players, Alexsander Barkov, Nick Bjugstad and Drew Shore give them a trio of solid young centers no older than 23-years old and Jonathan Huberdeau is a very talented winger learning that hard way this year that sometimes the puck just doesn’t bounce your way.
And the talent pool isn’t just on the offensive side, Dmitry Kulikov and Erik Gudbranson are very skilled young defenseman – but the path of a young defender rarely is a straight climb to the top and ups and downs are expected. But how long are you supposed to wait until you at least some sort of consistency?
A move to bring in an established defenseman that can stabilize the defense and give Luongo some help is what the Panthers really need and should be looking for during the last few hours of trade deadline – and going forward.
The future is truly bright in Sunrise, with some minor work and more dedication to play in your own end.
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