Florida Panthers: Power-Play conundrum over the years

SUNRISE, FL - OCTOBER 13: Vincent Trocheck
SUNRISE, FL - OCTOBER 13: Vincent Trocheck /

An issue that has plagued the Florida Panthers repeatedly over the past decade has been a futile power-play.

Florida Panthers past PP numbers tell the story:

  • 2016-17 (17% – 24th ranked)
  • 2015-16 (16.9% – 23rd ranked)
  • 2014-15 (16.3% – 24th ranked)
  • 2013-14 (10% – 30th ranked)
  • 2012-13* (20.4% – 6th ranked)

*=denotes strike shortened season

Even when the Panthers were a threat on the man advantage during the 2012-13 shortened season, certain individual numbers were not sustainable. For instance, career high’s in power-play goals by: Brian Campbell (6), Marcel Goc (4) and Tomas Kopecky (4) were never met in future seasons (particular names you would not expect to be leading NHL clubs on traditional PP units).

Related Story: The Florida Panthers Need To Improve Their Power-Play

Former Panthers assistant coach Mike Kelly (2014-16) ended up being the “fall guy” for the lackluster power-play. It eventually reached crescendo levels when Dave Barr replaced Kelly’s role as power-play coach. Barr (who had a good reputation from his prior coaching stint with the Buffalo Sabres) produced similar sub-par results prior to meeting his eventual fate.

While Aleksander Barkov, Nick Bjugstad, Aaron Ekblad and Jonathan Huberdeau missed a combined 114 games in 2016-17, there is simply too much young talent on the Panthers roster to be continually flummoxed on the power-play moving forward.

Whether past power-play deficiencies were due to: poor entries, over passing, lack of trigger men on the PP, past coaching failures, injuries or all of the above…the Panthers need to figure out a solution fast this off season if they want to contend in the ever improving Atlantic Division.

Even with the mass exodus of veteran forward talent this off-season, the Panthers added Evgeni Dadonov and Radim Vrbata via free agency. Dadonov potted 9 PPG’s with SKA (ST Petersburg-KHL) last season. Meanwhile, Vrbata’s PP numbers have dipped the past couple years on porous hockey teams, even though he’s historically a threat on the man advantage.

Dale Tallon via FloridaPanthers.com:

"“He’s a smart, skilled player and a reliable offensive presence on the power play. We are pleased to have signed Radim and welcome him to South Florida.”"

With a brand new coaching staff in charge now, the buck stops with the current young core needing to produce more efficiently on the PP moving forward.