Defending has been the biggest issue for the Panthers this season. In the past three games played, the Cats have given up 20 goals and are ranked second with most goals (56) given up among all teams in the Atlantic Division. The only team above them is the Toronto Maple Leafs (who have played three extra games). The Panthers also rank fourth with the highest xGA60 (Expected Goals Against Per 60 Minutes) in the entire league, holding a figure of (2.67).
But apart from all the stats, the big concern on the back end is the lack of zone coverage and the excessive amount of turnovers given. Too many times have we seen players blow their defensive assignment and get caught out of position. Every defenseman on the Florida Panthers have been guilty of that act. While zone coverage has been the main issue for the defense so far, turnovers doesn’t fall far from being the sole primary issue.
I sound like a broken record by saying this a whole awful lot but the defense just turns the puck over way too much. The giveaways in our own zone are just killing us defensively and crucifying us collectively as well. Averaging 4+ goals against per night just isn’t doable in this league and won’t give you a shot at winning night in and night out. The Panthers cannot continue going down this trend of giving up 4+ a night. If they do, they’ll be right back at drafting another top 10 pick.
If the Cats are to have any chance of turning this season around, then it starts in their own zone. Cut unnecessary turnovers and bad coverage, and you’ve just taken a big step towards reaching the level of a pretty decent hockey team.