Panthers News NHL: Florida Panthers 2017 first round pick Owen Tippett is optimistic about making Florida Panthers final roster right away as a rookie.



Florida Panthers 2017 Season Preview



Aaron Ekblad was the #1 overall pick in the 2014 NHL Draft. The highly touted defenseman must take the next step and become the leader of the Florida Panthers in 2017.



Chris Ransom follow @DraftUtopia Posted on 8/31/2017.



Florida Panthers Line 1 Forwards


Player
Position
Games Played
Height
Weight
Goals
Assists
Points
Jonathan Huberdeau
Left Wing
31
6-foot-1-inches
188-pounds
10
16
26
Aleksander Barkov
Center
61
6-foot-3-inches
213-pounds
21
31
52
Evgeni Dadonov
Right Wing
53
5-foot-10-inches
185-pounds
30
36
66

Florida Panthers Line 2 Forwards


Player
Position
Games Played
Height
Weight
Goals
Assists
Points
Henrik Haapala
Left Wing
51
5-foot-9-inches
185-pounds
15
45
60
Vincent Trocheck
Center
82
5-foot-10-inches
182-pounds
23
31
54
Radim Vrbata
Right Wing
81
6-foot-1-inches
194-pounds
20
35
55

Florida Panthers Line 3 Forwards


Player
Position
Games Played
Height
Weight
Goals
Assists
Points
Denis Malgin
Left Wing
47
5-foot-9-inches
177-pounds
6
4
10
Nick Bjugstad
Center
54
6-foot-6-inches
218-pounds
7
7
14
Colton Sceviour
Right Wing
53
6-foot-0-inches
195-pounds
9
15
24

Florida Panthers Line 4 Forwards


Player
Position
Games Played
Height
Weight
Goals
Assists
Points
Michael Haley
Left Wing
58
5-foot-11-inches
205-pounds
2
8
10
Derek MacKenzie
Center
82
5-foot-11-inches
181-pounds
6
10
16
Owen Tippett
Right Wing
60
6-foot-2-inches
203-pounds
44
31


Florida Panthers Forwards Review: Florida needs Jonathan Huberdeau to stay healthy. They also need the guys they signed from the KHL in Russia and the SM Liiga in Finland to translate. Owen Tippett is an x-factor as well. I think Tippett will get a 10 game tryout as a rookie, but if he struggles in those 10 games he gets sent back to Mississauga where he'd play for the Steelheads once again in 2018.


Jaromir Jagr is still a Free Agent. I'm amazed nobody signed him after Florida let him walk. Jagr still has a lot of value even though I can understand why Florida parted ways with him. If the wingers Florida added can perform, this team will have most of the components to contend this season.


Florida has two lines of forwards that could be great if Huberdeau stays healthy. Their back 6 will have no spark unless Tippett makes the final roster as a rookie and manages to stay on it. Last season the Panthers finished 23rd in goals scored and 24th on the power play.




Florida Panthers Defensive Lines


Player
Line
Games Played
Height
Weight
Goals
Assists
Points
Aaron Ekblad
Line 1
68
6-foot-4-inches
216-pounds
10
11
21
Michael Mattheson
Line 1
81
6-foot-2-inches
192-pounds
7
10
17
Jason Demers
Line 2
81
6-foot-1-inches
208-pounds
9
19
28
Keith Yandle
Line 2
82
6-foot-1-inches
196-pounds
5
36
41
Alex Petrovic
Line 3
49
6-foot-4-inches
206-pounds
1
13
14
Mark Pysyk
Line 3
82
6-foot-1-inches
200-pounds
2
2
4


Florida Panthers Defensemen Review Florida's defense has a lot of talent. They finished 19th in goals allowed and 2nd in penalty killing. This defense has top 10 potential. It all comes down to Aaron Ekblad. Ekblad has to stay healthy and show people he can be the leader of this defense. If he does that, other guys will rally around him and Florida will be a deadly defense. If he fails to do this, it will be a long season for the Florida Panthers.




Draft Utopia Between The Pipes Goalie Tracker


Starting Goalie


Player
Team
Games Played
Record
Shutouts
Save Percentage
Goals Against Average
Roberto Luongo
Florida Panthers
39
17-15-6
1 Shutout
.915
2.68 GAA

Backup Goalie


Player
Team
Games Played
Record
Shutouts
Save Percentage
Goals Against Average
James Reimer
Florida Panthers
39
18-16-5
3 Shutouts
.920
2.53 GAA


Florida Panthers Goaltender Review Roberto Luongo began to decline. James Reimer on the other hand, showed he has the tools to be a starting goalie in the future. It will be interesting to see if Luongo loses his job to Reimer in the near future.




Florida Panthers Prospect Pool: Florida has a thinner prospect pool then they had in previous years. It will be interesting to see how the Panthers retool their pool of prospects with most of their young prospects now in the NHL.




Florida Panthers 2017-2018 Prediction


Florida has a lot more questions then usual. Are the forwards they brought in from Finland and Europe going to replace Jagr? Can Aaron Ekblad stay healthy? Will Luongo keep his job as the starting goalie? Will James Reimer play well enough to take Luongo's job? These questions make me question Florida's playoff odds. One thing I will add is that if Florida loses a lot of games, that about 2/3's of their losses should be one goal games since the strength of this team is the defense. It really comes down to how much discipline, the Panthers show in 2017-2018.



Click the link below to get information on Florida's AHL partner, the Springfield Thunderbirds.










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