The Florida Panthers made a lot of veteran signings this offseason, and the one more important than any of the others, is none other than Tim Thomas. The Panthers brought him in to play in goal, knowing he would wear such an ugly goalie mask. He looks to be the number one over Jacob Markstrom at this point after having a good game in Dallas Thursday night, where he stopped 25 of 27 shots.
The Panthers were able to sign veteran skaters Scott Gomez, Brad Boyes, Ryan Whitney, and Tom Gilbert. The Panthers have some young skill, and with the added help on the blue line, could they possibly be a wild card competing team?
The Panthers looked good in Dallas on Thursday night, outshooting the Stars 38-27. The powerplay was unable to convert on four chances, but they controlled most of the game, and scored three goals in the third period to stamp their 4-2 win over the Stars.
Florida will be in St. Louis tonight to take on the Blues, who many see as a team more than capable of winning a Stanley Cup this season. The Panthers were impressive in their debut this season, and if they can pull out a win in St. Louis, they might be able to start turning some heads by starting the season 2-0 against two skilled teams.
Young star, Jonathan Huberdeau had a good season last year, and if he can continue to progress well, he could be a huge offensive weapon for the Panthers. Huberdeau was drafted 3rd overall in 2011, and had 31 points in 48 games last season.
The Panthers have more tough tests early on this season, they open their season on a four game road trip. After St. Louis, they travel to Philadelphia on Tuesday, and then to Tampa on Thursday for a home game away from home of some sorts.
The Panthers are playing in a difficult division this season with teams like Detroit, Boston, Montreal, and Toronto, and they won’t be able to keep up with them, but they could very well end up with a wild card spot if they can continue to play the way they did Thursday night. It may be too soon to put such expectations on a team that isn’t expected to do much, but with the help of Tim Thomas, who looks like he never missed a beat after sitting out an entire season, they could very well surprise some people.