The Florida Panthers decided to send Henrik Borgstrom to the AHL to start the season, and that was the biggest mistake they could’ve possibly made.
Henrik Borgstrom is a player who could offer the Cats some offensive firepower on the third line as a rookie, but instead, they decided to go with a third line of mostly average players.
At the University of Denver last season, Borgstrom scored at a rate of 0.575 goals per game and 1.3 points per game, equating for 23 goals and 52 points in 40 games, as well as finishing the year with a +/- of +13.
The best idea the Florida Panthers could’ve made was to go with four scoring lines, with Borgstrom on the third along with McCann and Malgin, followed with a fourth of Vatrano with Colton Sceviour and Maxim Mamin.
Instead, the Panthers decided to send one of their most dynamic young players down to Springfield and run a fourth line containing two players (Haley and DMac) who are limited in offensive skillset.
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The Panthers limited their offensive potential by sending Borgstrom down, as now they will have to rely heavily on their first two lines for offensive production while the Panthers’ current bottom-six doesn’t have a single player who scored over 30 points from last year.
Henrik Borgstrom scored more points in 40 games in college than any of the Panthers’ bottom-six players did in an 82-game season.
Sure, the NHL is a completely different level of play than college, but you could easily expect Borgstrom to score over 30 points in an NHL season as a rookie. On the flip side, Jared McCann leads Florida’s bottom-six unit with 28 points in 68 games last season.
With the amount of talent Borgstrom has, he belongs in the NHL, especially over guys like Micheal Haley. Borgstrom could’ve been one of the top Calder Trophy Candidates had he started the season in the NHL, but instead, he’s being sent down to the AHL to start the year.
On the bright side, Borgstrom could benefit from acquiring top-six minutes in Springfield as he can further develop his game while improving the overall state of the Thunderbirds. And if he continues his tremendous growth early on, he could earn himself a call-up to the big squad early in the season.
Although Henrik could make an appearance on the Florida Panthers early on in the season, the Cats still made a huge mistake by not letting their best prospect start the year with the big team.