Summer Skate: Panthers
With a mix of veterans and highly drafted young talent, Florida a team to watch
Although the weather outside doesn't necessarily make us think of winter pursuits, it's a good time to take the temperature of every NHL team. Hockey Prospectus will guide us through the league-wide tour, spotlighting one player trending up and one player trending down for each club, as well as a key statistic as we look ahead to the 2014-15 season. References will be made to goals versus threshold (GVT), a Hockey Prospectus proprietary statistic; for more on GVT, click here. All other advanced stats are courtesy of Stats.HockeyAnalysis.com.
After finishing with the second-worst record in the NHL in 2013-14, the Florida Panthers spent the offseason making every effort to become a competitor this upcoming season. They made a bevy of signings, including grabbing two quality top-nine forwards in former Hurricane and Penguin Jussi Jokinen and ex-Blackhawk Dave Bolland.
The Panthers should be thinking "win now," considering 35-year-old goaltender Roberto Luongo is at the end of his prime, and the group of prospects they have been touting for years are finally coming into their own.
Sure, there is a lot of ground to make up -- the Panthers scored only 196 goals this past season, the second fewest in the league -- but it would not be a shock if they saw a turnaround akin to that of the Colorado Avalanche this past season.
Trending up: Jonathan Huberdeau, F