The best regular season by far in Florida Panthers franchise was in 2015-16. As of right now, that was the only year we ever passed the 100 point mark. But that team definitely overachieved.
The Florida Panthers overachieved in 2015-16 because of several factors. Before you get the idea this is another analytical bashing of the team, I am not looking at analytics. I’m looking at the blueprint. In 2014-15, the Panthers made major strides, improving from a terrible 66 point season to a mediocre 91 point season. Many expected the 2015-16 Panthers team to get 95 points which would either a) make them barely miss or b) squeak them in as a wildcard team. Instead, they got 103 points and won their division (Atlantic).
Before you get the idea that I think this was bad, I don’t. I think overachieving is way better than what the 2016-17 Panthers did which was underachieve. I will be looking at a lot of factors from 2015-16 and 2016-17 including some stats and we will compare.
2015-16 Category 2016-17 239 Goals For 210 203 Goals Against 237 2.91 Goals For Per Game 2.56 2.48 Goals Against Per Game 2.89
As you can see, the Cats offense was much better in 2015-16. The Panthers scoring though was far more spread out in 2015-16.
Four players: Barkov, Jagr, Smith and Trocheck had 25+ goals and Huberdeau had 20 goals. In 2016-17 only one player had 25+ goals which was Marchessault with Trocheck and Barkov producing in the low twenties. Roberto Luongo was phenomenal in 2015-16 but his hip prevented him from repeating in 2016-17. Al Montoya was excellent in 2015-16 and he left in free agency. While Reimer performed well, he wasn’t as consistent as The Big Cubano.
The Panthers revamped defensive core was supposed to score more, which they did according to the following stats. The 2016-17 defense scored 37 goals which was a 10 goal improvement from 2015-16. These numbers indicate that the Cats defense scored 17.6% of the total goals in 2016-17 over the defense’s 11.3% the previous season. The offense slacked off. While the defense was good at scoring this year, they were atrocious defensively. The Cats had solid shutdown defenders the years before.
The Panthers also went on a 12 game winning streak in 2015-16. Man that was fun. The 12 game winning streak is the reason this team made the playoffs. The Panthers didn’t get that hot in 2016-17. Instead, they went back to the old inconsistent team. The Cats found consistency in 2015-16, something that has eluded them for their franchise history. If the Panthers can establish consistency on a consistent basis (yes I know that’s a mouthful) they will be a dangerous team.
Many blamed the 2016-17 collapse on injuries. However, the Panthers had similar problems in 2015-16 but kept doing well. Therefore, the only reason we can find is that the 2015-16 team simply overachieved.