2019 Florida Panthers Odds to win Stanley Cup with Expert Predictions
Bob Boughner was a highly-touted coach when he made the move from junior hockey to the NHL to lead the Florida Panthers two seasons ago. But he was unable to achieve the potential that this Florida team had, and after two years of missing the playoffs he was let go. And the team certainly wasn't interested in taking a chance on another up-and-comer. They replaced Boughner with Joel Quenneville, the three-time Stanley Cup winner who has the second most wins in the history of the NHL behind only Scotty Bowman. Coach Q had been in Chicago since 2008. However, after missing the playoffs for the first time in the 2017-18 season, patience ran short and he was the victim of a slow start and was fired just 15 games into last season. He was immediately the hottest coaching commodity out there. He's 61, so he's not likely looking for a long rebuild. That he picked Florida when he could have had pretty much any job he wanted is a serious endorsement of what this team could be. And he is a major asset for a team that seems to be on the verge of much bigger things after making the playoffs just twice in the last 18 years.
Florida Panthers Offseason Moves
Quenneville's hiring was a big one, but it wasn't the only move of note for the team. Not even close. The team needed to make a change in net after Roberto Luongo retired this summer at age 40. As they did with the head coach, they swung for the fences looking for a replacement and they succeeded. They landed free agent Sergei Bobrovsky from Columbus with a big seven-year, $70 million deal. Bobrovsky was not just the prize of the goaltending crop this year, but the kind of goaltending free agent we just don't see in this league. The team couldn't have done any better.
They also added a few more pieces in free agency, though nothing like Bobrovsky. Brett Connoly and Noel Acciari are both useful depth forwards. Anton Stralman is a second pairing defenseman who is much more reliable than flashy. They mostly addressed the holes that they had, though a second line winger to play with Mike Hoffman and Vincent Trocheck would have been nice to have.
Not content to just rely on Bobrovsky forever, the Panthers also used their
13th overall selection in the draft to take Spencer Knight, the first
goalie selected. He starts at Boston College this year after two strong
years with the U.S. National Development Team. Goalies take a long time to
develop, but he should be entering his prime just as Bobrovsky leaves his
if all goes according to plan.
Florida Panthers NHL Outlook
Last year the Panthers had the ninth-best scoring offense in the league. That was driven by their stellar top line of Jonathan Huberdeau, Aleksander Barkov and Evgenii Dadonov. There are only a small handful of teams that can claim any better than that group - a very small group. Quenneville knows better than most how to manage high-caliber offensive talent, so this group should be just fine. Though they didn't add to the group, there is reason to think that they could be more productive than they were last year. Aside from the coaching change, their key players are still young so they can continue to grow, and Vincent Trocheck was hurt last year. This team is going to be able to score. And they have a solid defense in front of their star goalie - though Quenneville hasn't loved playing young defensemen in the past, and he will be doing so here.
Florida Panthers Schedule
The Panthers certainly don't get to ease into the season. They open with a brutal home and home series against a Tampa Bay team that is the best in the league - one that should be playing very angry after the humiliation of their first-round sweep last year. Then they travel to play a Carolina team that made the conference final last year and improved over the summer. We'll know a lot about this team a week in.
Florida Panthers NHL Futures Odds
Florida is in unfamiliar air, siting tied with Winnipeg and the defending champion Blues as the sixth choice to win the Stanley Cup at +1600. They are the fourth choice to win the Eastern Conference at +900 and also the fourth choice to win the Atlantic Division at +600. Their season point total is set at 96.5 with balanced action. They are -220 to make the playoffs, compared to +180 to miss them.
2019-20 Florida Panthers Predictions
This has been a team that has consistently teased us only to disappoint over the last several years. But they have so much young talent, and have upgraded in a big way behind the bench and in net - two of the most important places to do so. This is a playoff team this year - though there will be one or two very good teams in the Atlantic that wind up as wild card teams, so they could be one. Really, being the wild card team from the Atlantic that plays the Metropolitan winner in the first round may be the best place to be given how strong the Atlantic is.
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