This upcoming year will be all about hypotheticals and uncertainty. In the end, do the Florida Panthers have enough to push for a playoff spot?
Going into tonight, I really didn’t have anything particular to write about. It’s been awfully dry (boring) as of late, and thought I would share my feelings about the upcoming season. To be very honest with you, I really don’t know what to think about this season at all (kind of skeptical).
There are some nights I tell myself that the boys have enough in them to pull it off, but there are other nights (like tonight) where I’m not really sure if there’s enough talent to really make it through. The only realistic approach is to simply wait until the season gets underway. In the meantime, let me outline where I stand/feel about this team.
Firstly, I am very uncertain about the final roster (especially for opening night). The roster should be the biggest concern and only concern. As of today, the final roster is not complete (nor should it be). There are many openings to be penciled in by the coaching staff, as the likes of Smith, Jokinen, Jagr and Marchessault are all gone.
There will likely be a “change of identity upfront”, as the torch is now passed on to the younger guys. I don’t know how I feel about this. I’ve been so used to seeing guys like Barkov, Huberdeau, Trocheck and even Ekblad rely on mentors to guide them. That ship however, has already sailed and will be long forgotten in the future. It’s time for the “young core” to take over this team. They’ll each be each others safety net if something is to go wrong.
Secondly, the prospects that make the jump into the big league. With a solid four openings upfront, youngsters like Haapala, Tippett, Repo, Malgin, Mamin and others, will all be fighting for a permanent spot. I mean, who wouldn’t? Now is the time for them to put their foot in the door and make a name for themselves. There’s really no better opportunity. My only question though: Are they ready to perform on the big stage?
Lastly, Bob Boughner and co. will need sometime to adapt accordingly. With a new coach in town, the Florida Panthers will need to be patient. Results may not come as quickly as we’d all like, but it really shouldn’t come as of surprise. For us fans, “patience” will be the most important virtue. Bob and his staff deserve an opportunity to show us what they have planned, whether we like it or not.
To conclude all of my thoughts, I sincerely believe that the Florida Panthers will not have enough to push for a playoff spot. There are just too many question marks going into the season with, and I’m not sure how the young core hold up in their first season alone without their previous mentors. I hope the boys prove me (and everyone) wrong, and show us that they can indeed make the postseason. However as of now, I stick to what my gut is telling me.