Florida Panthers: What’s holding them back from succeeding?

SUNRISE, FL - NOVEMBER 4: Keith Yandle
SUNRISE, FL - NOVEMBER 4: Keith Yandle /
3 of 6

Penalty Kill

SUNRISE, FL – MARCH 4: Mark Pysyk
SUNRISE, FL – MARCH 4: Mark Pysyk /

The second issue that’s holding the Panthers back from succeeding is the penalty kill. The P.K. was actually one of the fewest bright spots during the Cats difficult campaign last year. They were up there amongst the league’s best and ended the season with a ranking of second (85.3 PK%). The Boston Bruins were the only team to surpass the Cats for sole possession of first. Regardless though, having your penalty kill ranked second in the entire league is pretty darn good.

Fast forward a season later and this isn’t quite the case. What was a penalty killing unit that held a succession rate of 85.3%, has now fallen to 70.6% ranking 30th in the league. The Edmonton Oilers are the only team ranked lower than the Panthers. Assistant Coach (Jack Capuano) who is now in charge of the penalty killing unit is responsible for the system change.

Whether you see it as a triangle, a diamond or whatever shape comes to your mind, the system just doesn’t work. The two forwards at the top are constantly pinching when they aren’t supposed to, thus leaving guys wide open on the wings. It can also be said that losing our top two penalty killers in Reilly Smith and Jussi Jokinen hurts, but the Panthers need to learn how to play without them.

Ideally, when something isn’t broke why change it, right? I’m not sure why Capuano and co. would go out and change the system when it was working all along. Now that the new penalty killing system doesn’t fit well with our guys, it would be wise of Jack to reconsider his system and make changes where he sees fit.