The Florida Panthers are currently 14th in the Eastern Conference with eight points, but they’ve only played 10 games (second-least in the conference), and their points-per-game pace suggests that they’re just shy of “middle of the pack.” Florida (4-6-0) did close out October with a 3-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens, and opened November with a loss to the Atlanta Thrashers in which they recorded a franchise record of 55 shots on goal.
Offensive opportunities have been coming back around since head coach, Peter DeBoer started benching guys for their lack of production about a week ago. Even in that loss to Montreal the Panthers put 31 shots on net. In that game, Tomas Vokoun earned the 1st star in that game after stopping 40 of 41 shots. Vokoun improving his already impressive stats to a 2.56 goal-against average, .913 save percentage along with his two shutouts on the season.
The Panthers have shown us two different sides to their personality, especially with their inconsistency on offense. For the most part Vokoun has been able to keep his club in games and this is the reason why Florida has decided to keep Vokoun over the past few seasons, rather than ship him at the trade deadline to plug other holes on the roster.
General Manager Dale Tallon continues to believe in this team, even though it is not where they want to be right now. Rebuilding is a process. Nobody expects this franchise to jump from the bottom to the top half of the conference in just one season. Key components on this team are in place and Tallon will be sure to continue that trend over the next few seasons.
Where will the Florida Panthers be headed this season, you ask? If this up and down play continues, they are likely looking at a middle of the pack finish and another year of missing the playoffs. There are other teams who are struggling such as, New Jersey and Buffalo, but those clubs have the offensive components needed to be successful and turn their teams around. Florida has what they need as of right now to get back in this as it is still early.
As we progress through the weeks we will see more consistent play by Florida, but the type of play we will see is still to be determined.
Florida has a home and home series starting in Sunrise against division rival, Carolina Hurricanes, Friday night. The next night will complete the home and home in Raleigh. After that the Panthers will travel back home to take on the Toronto Maple Leafs on November, 10th.