We are now in the dog days of the off-season and nothing much has been going on news-wise. Just for fun I decided to step into Head Coach Gerard Gallant’s shoes to try and figure out what I think the lineup should look like come opening night. Here’s what I came up with:
|Jussi Jokinen||Aleksander Barkov||Sean Bergenheim|
|Jonathan Huberdeau||Nick Bjugstad||Brad Boyes|
|Tomas Fleischmann||Dave Bolland||Brandon Pirri|
|Tomas Kopecky||Derek MacKenzie||Shawn Thornton|
My Analysis: My lineup perhaps has a few surprises as I have Sean Bergenheim on the first line so that we have an all Finn line and I have Brandon Pirri sliding onto the third line taking the place of Scottie Upshall. In my opinion, the Panthers need to find a spot in the lineup for Pirri after he put up 14 points in 21 games for us last season.
The Panthers forward situation is going to be tough to sort out but it will be interesting to see how Head Coach Gerard Gallant decides to put it together. It will also be interesting to see if any trades are made to reduce the clutter of forwards we have or to give players like Vincent Trocheck, Drew Shore and Quinton Howden an opportunity to make the 23 man roster.
|Brian Campbell||Dmitry Kulikov|
|Willie Mitchell||Aaron Ekblad|
|Erik Gudbranson||Dylan Olsen|
My Analysis: If the defense shapes up this way I think it will give us the ability to roll three solid D-pairings. Campbell will be able to cover for the mistakes that Kulikov is bound to make. Same goes for Mitchell as Ekblad will surely go through the normal rookie growing pains. Plus Mitchell should be a nice veteran mentor for the young Ekblad. Lastly, I re-united the Gudbranson and Olsen pairing that was so good for us last year.
What changes would you make to my predicted lineup? Let us know in the comment section below. Thanks for reading and as always your input is greatly appreciated. Follow @FANSIDEDTHERAT and like us on Facebook to stay up-to-date on all your Florida Panthers news.