Going into this season, expectations were very high for the Florida Panthers.
The club missed the playoffs by a point last season and their strong finish showed gave fans hope that they were headed in the right direction. Not only that, it made fans believe that the roster they had was going to be more than good enough to find a way into the playoffs this season.itions and have a very bright future.
It appears that as of this writing that may not end up being the case. The team is currently second to last in the Eastern Conference and 27th in the league.
The first problem this team has is that they cannot keep the puck out of their own net. The team is currently 28th in the league in goals allowed as hey have given up 107 goals in 30 games, which means they are allowing an average of about three-and-a-half goals per game.
Their goaltending, though not entirely blame, simply has not been good. Even potential Hall of Famer Roberto Luongo has struggled this season.
As of this writing, Luongo is 5-5-1 in 13 games with a 3.03 goals against average, a .903 save percentage and one shutout. If you’ve been following Luongo throughout his career, then you know that these numbers are not normal for him.
Behind Luongo, James Reimer has been terrible this season. He is 5-7-3 with a 3.47 goals against average and a .889 save percentage.
To go along with poor goaltending, the team’s defense really has not helped them much. They average about 31 shots against per game and when you have two goaltenders that are struggling, that’s an issue.
What’s more is not only has the team given up 107 goals this season, they’ve only scored 96 goals. When you’re allowing more goals than the amount of pucks you are putting in the net, that’s a big problem.
While the likes of Mike Hoffman (15 goals), Evgenii Dadonov (14 goals), and Aleksander Barkov (11 goals) have had some success in putting the puck in the net this season, not many others have. After Barkov, the highest goal total is eight and that’s from Jonathan Huberdau and Frank Vatrano.
Right now, this team does not have a lot of scoring depth. Like I said earlier, if you’re giving up more goals than you are scoring, that’s an issue that needs to be corrected.
Lastly, it does not help the Panthers that they play in one of the best divisions (Atlantic) in the league. A division that includes the Tampa Bay Lightning (51 points), Toronto Maple Leafs (43 points), Buffalo Sabres (42 points), Boston Bruins (38 points), Montreal Canadiens (37 points), and even the Detroit Red Wings (32 points) means that there is not a lot of room for error.
This team is in trouble folks. They’re not scoring, they’re not keeping the puck out of the net, and they’re not being competitive in both the division and Eastern Conference.
The team needs to find a way to fix this because if they are not able to, it will be another playoff-less season for this franchise.
*Photo: Tampa Bay Times