Florida Panthers: Has Bob Boughner temporarily found the solution to secondary scoring?

SUNRISE, FL - DECEMBER 28: Florida Panthers Head Coach Bob Boughner directs his team from the bench against the Philadelphia Flyers at the BB
SUNRISE, FL - DECEMBER 28: Florida Panthers Head Coach Bob Boughner directs his team from the bench against the Philadelphia Flyers at the BB /

Baked into every horrible Twitter stream from people talking about players who left the Florida Panthers eight months ago is something even Bob Boughner figured out in November: the Panthers lack secondary scoring. It wasn’t news then, nor is it now.

Below would be 17 different combinations of wingers for Vincent Trocheck since the start of the season, which is entirely insane for your second line centerman:

Outside of the old top line, which has been dominant, the Panthers have picked up little from elsewhere in terms of offensive production and consistency. But with the 17th different combination of wingers for Trocheck, did the Panthers find a feasible temporary solution?

One of the biggest missions this offseason for Dale Tallon will be to add depth on the wings. That could come from Henrik Borgstrom and Owen Tippett making the leap to the NHL, it could perhaps come from a trade or even free agent signing.

But since none of these moves are going to happen during the regular season, nor would they salvage this season, Bob Boughner is left for temporary solutions like the one above in yellow. And based on the first four games of evidence, this solution may not be a bad one.

This new second line of Huberdeau, Trocheck and Malgin has generated five of the eleven goals Florida has scored since the combination was put together. According to Hockey Stats, the three forwards were all in positive CF% (Corsi For Percentage) against Washington, with Malgin leading the pack, holding a strong CF% figure of 62.96%. Huberdeau and Trocheck followed closely behind the 21-year-old, also holding strong figures of 60.71% and 55.32% respectively.

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Puck possession wise, they are generating their chances and at times, hemming teams in their own end. Dadonov, Barkov and Bjugstad certainly haven’t suffered at all as a combination, though their success hasn’t been quite as noticeable. But when changes are made to top sixes’ like this, it takes time for chemistry to develop.

An adage in hockey says that line combinations are developed in pairs, and for the Panthers, there was no better evidence of this than how Huberdeau and Barkov have been attached at the hip since Barkov entered the league.

Before the game against the Capitals on January 25th, the only time the two didn’t play together was when Barkov was out injured. Breaking up that duo is a bold move from Bob Boughner, and one that he didn’t seem to be willing to make, until now. Barkov clearly makes every winger he has better, but there’s something to be said about that chemistry those two had and have with one another.

Nick Bjugstad might not be Jonathan Huberdeau, but he is a positive possession player who generates plenty of offense at even strength. And in the effort to balance scoring out, something had to give. It might not be a coincidence that the Panthers played one of their best complete games of the season when the new lines both generated puck possession and good scoring chances, though it was against a team in the Islanders that refuses to play defense.

Is this a long-term solution to fix the Panthers offensive woes? Of course not, only personnel changes can do that. Huberdeau-Barkov-Dadonov will be the Panthers top line when the team actualizes, but for now, when the mixture of players the Panthers have been leaning on to generate offense behind those three are either veterans who can’t keep up or young players who aren’t up to NHL speed, this solution seems like the best solution, at least for now.

Florida now potentially has two lines that could be legitimate scoring threats, and with balanced scoring, they have a chance to win more often than when if the top line had an off night, the team was out of luck.

Next: Looking at Keith Yandle’s time with the Florida Panthers

Bob Boughner has tried to desperately tinker with the forward lines all season in an effort to generate some sort of offensive spark, and almost nothing worked. It’s ironic, and almost sad, to see that the last move he could have made is the one that may work the best.