After losing their third in a row to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Sunday by a score of 5-3, it’s probably safe to start panicking a little bit.
Maybe not panic, but acknowledge that this group is certainly trending in the wrong direction and accept that the regression is most likely here to stay for this season.
Turnovers, bad/lazy passing, constantly playing from behind, and the defense allowing guys to sneak in for dangerous redirects and net-front distribution (well on display against CBJ), are a few things killing this Panthers team right now.
The scariest thing about this current tailspin is that Florida welcomes a Bruins team tonight that sits in first place in the league with a 17-2-0 record. Contrast that with the Panthers currently in 19th place, sporting a 9-8-2 record, and it already looks like a B’s win.
The Bruins are boasting a seven-game winning streak (still a few to go to catch the Devils though). Check out some of these Boston stats so far:
- Scored at least five goals in 10 games (two more than the next best team)
- First in the NHL defensively with 2.11 goals allowed per game
- Pasta has 29 points (12G, 17A)
- Patrice Bergeron recorded his 1,000th point
- Goaltender Linus Ullmark has a a 13-1-0 record and leads the NHL in GAA (1.96) and SV% (.935)
Focusing on that last note…the Cats poured on 50 shots against CBJ, but only managed three goals. If they’re going to have success against Ullmark and this Boston defense, quantity of shots isn’t going to get it done. It’s quality of shot that is needed. They can put on 100, but if the shots are coming from the outside, the goalie sees it the whole way, and/or there’s no traffic out front, it’s not going to matter. Florida needs more guys with Tkachuk’s mentality of distribution out front and looking for the greasy goals tonight.
Many outlets are reporting that the Panthers could be making a trade sooner rather than later.
Frank Seravalli had an interesting comment via the latest Daily Faceoff
Per Frank Seravalli:
“Yeah, so we take a look here at the next five guys on our trade targets list, and Duclair, you see, has an asterisk next to his name, and those are also his 2021-22 stats, because Anthony Duclair sustained an Achilles injury on July 2nd, and has missed the entirety of the season to this point. Why is this significant, and why is his name on the board?
Because the Florida Panthers have been flying incredibly close to the sun with the salary cap this season. They’re dressing the league minimum, they’re carrying the league minimum of players. You saw last week with Aaron Ekblad when he was sick, they didn’t get a replacement, they played one player short.
And so, they don’t have anyone to send down and that means if they’d like to activate Duclair, who I’m told is closing in on a return, he’s already skating, looking like sometime around Christmas at the earliest, he’s got a $3 million cap hit, and in order to activate him, they have no space. They absolutely must make a trade.
One option, may be one of the easiest options, would be to take Duclair and unload him somewhere for free, have someone take him off your hands, you might even have to pay given the scenario that the Florida Panthers are in, to have someone bail you out in order to make that happen. But the reason Duclair has the asterisk and I call him a placeholder is I believe at this point he’s just as likely as some of the other players on the Florida Panthers roster that could be moved.
It could be anyone of them, but the point is to point out the Florida Panthers will have to make a move barring another injury, will have to make a trade, and I think if it’s not going to be Duclair, I think they might be able to find some value elsewhere, whether it’s Sam Reinhart, Sam Bennett, they have some different options. But it’s going to need to be someone that makes $3 million or more on their cap, and an important transaction to point out as some teams around the league begin to look at some vulnerable positions, the Florida Panthers certainly are in one.”
No doubt about that the Cats are in a very vulnerable position that will almost certainly see a team come in a pickoff a player of value from them (maybe even more than one).
The question now becomes: who is going to be the one (or multiple?) that’s gone soon?
I believe whenever it happens, it will plunge the Cats into further regression, possibly resulting in a missed postseason.
Then I think the below will take place:
1. The off-season sees the Panthers get cap relief when the Yandle, Hornqvist (if not by the TDL), etc., salaries come off the books
2. Florida will use this money to bring in a critical piece or two (hopefully on the backend)
3. There will be some trades that shake up the roster and move out core guys in order to move the team in a different direction/playing style
4. Florida will become Tkachuk’s team, where he will soon wear the “C”
Just some hot takes on a Tuesday night before game day tomorrow…