The Florida Panthers are one of the lower teams when it comes to the standings. They have some skill on the team, but not enough to make a difference. The Panthers, at least in my mind, can be a stronger team if they put their mind to it. I’m not going to sit here and tell you I think they’re going to make the playoffs this year, but I do have three players who I think will be explosive for them.
Tomas Fleischmann, a man I love to watch play, is a strong forward. Just look at his last season stats. He scored 35 points in 48 games. He had a lousy -10 rating, but he knows where to get the points. When he plays to his full, I can see him nailing 70-80 points this season. Some may say that is a little much for him, but I can see him playing hard for the Panthers this season.
Jonathan Huberdeau, another favorite of mine, was a great pick in the 2011 draft by Florida. He can lead a great example for this year’s draftee Aleksander Barkov. Huberdeau produced 31 points in last year’s season. He was right behind Fleischmann, and I know he can also hit that 70 point mark. This one likes to score, and he could be one of the top-three forwards for this organization for years to come.
I know many people like to make jokes about Scott Gomez, but I think this could be his breakout year. During the lockout, he was picked up by the San Jose Sharks. He scored just 15 points in 39 games, and played with them in the playoffs, contributing 2 assists in 9 games. He’s obviously more of a passer than a shooter, but I think he will take more chances this year and find his fit with the Panthers and the back of the net. I’m going to go ahead and say I see him scoring 20 goals and 50+ points.
These are my three picks for the rising stars in Florida. Who do you think will rise up from humid Florida and tear up the ice? Tweet us @TMMotS and myself @NardoneDylan. You can also email us at [email protected].