In five games since January 29th, the Cats have compiled a 1-4 record, scoring six goals while falling to two divisional rivals and two Western Conference foes. The lone victory came against a down-and-out Islanders club displaying little interest in the contest. In that span 13 goals have been allowed (credit Tomas Vokoun for keeping it that tight).
Here's the deeper ugliness: Those five games saw Florida take 135 shots while allowing 172, a difference of -37, or 7.4 per game.
Special teams? The Panthers were awarded 23 power plays, scoring on two. The penalty kill was even worse, allowing 5 goals on 17 chances. Not so "special".
Florida is now in the 12th spot in the East, having gone 4-5-1 over the last ten. Still good for two points out of eigth, but consider Atlanta has equaled that record, Tampa Bay is 7-2-1 and Carolina - left for dead several weeks ago - is 7-3-0; a mere 8 points back of the Cats.
Other than a few headline-grabbing snippets referring to free-agency curing what ails them and management (likely truthfully) claiming rip-off deals at every turn, very little has come out of the glass tower on Panther Parkway.
At least GM Randy Sexton admitted to the possibility of his club being a "seller" at the deadline. So he's got that.
The overriding question for Florida is thus: How much of the proverbial future can be allowably mortgaged by making a deal to improve the foundation of the organization?
Undeniably, rival GMs can take one peek at the Cats' record and smell blood, immediately going for the throat with low-ball counter offers including names such as Weiss, Booth, Horton, and Kulikov. Then it falls to the Matthias, Repik, and Markstrom group - with very little in between.
And what of the coaching staff? Pistol Pete DeBoer has shown some fire of late - at least in post-game pressers - but when will it translate to some semblence of success on the ice?
Who's tuned out whom? At this stage it's Can the Coach or rebuild the roster into a group which will respond to DeBoer's vaunted "systems".
Tough to believe adding one impact player will change the fortunes for this bunch.