The Stanley Cup Finals are over; the Los Angeles Kings are the 2014 Stanley Cup Champions. Down here in Florida, however, we don't really care all that much. Our attention is turned to the offseason; we have the number one overall draft pick, and over 30 million dollars in cap space to spend. For the first time in a while, we look forward to the summer with lots of optimism (and unfortunately, the usual dose of skepticism) as this offseason could make, or break, the next 5+ years of hockey in South Florida. Say what you will about the true importance of the offseason, this year is different than others. Lots of the Cats' young guns showed they have what it takes to be good in the NHL, and the group of players that Tallon has drafted and developed are starting to look like the core of a Stanley Cup championship team. If the right moves are made this summer, the Panthers could be looking at a Cup run sometime in the next five years; if the wrong ones are made, we may fall short and descend back into the mediocrity from which we came.
STANLEY CUP CHAMPS
- Kimmo Timmonen re-signed with the Philadelphia Flyers, a great move for them that brings back the small, but efficient, puck moving defenseman.
- Need a reminder of who's available this year? Here's a look at the top 30 UFAs available this offseason, whether you agree with the rankings or not.
- Jussi Jokinen is a potential target for the Panthers this offseason. Interestingly enough, he also will bring something that could help fix the pathetic power play; the Finnish breakout.
- The Cats have a wealth of talent at the center position, both at the NHL level and in the system. Does pursuing Marcel Goc as a free agent really make sense, then?
- With this year being the last to use those ever useful compliance buyouts, expect there to be lots of them come the start of the offseason.
- For those as confused as I am as to how those compliance buyouts work in their entirety, here's a nice, convenient breakdown.
- Make a player unhappy, and he's going to want out. After trade rumors surrounded Jason Spezza to start the offseason, the captain of the Ottawa Senators has now requested the trade HIMSELF... Shocker.
- Reports out of Pittsburgh show that they too are moving towards embracing the analytics movement in hockey. Also coming out of that report, son of Carolina Hurricanes owner Peter Karmanos, Jason Karmanos, was fired... By his dad... For reasons unrelated to job performance. Not quite sure what that means, but wow does it just SOUND funny.
- Dan Bylsma really fits the bill in terms of what Dale Tallon is looking for to fill the head coaching vacancy (experience, winner, hooplah, etc.). The question is, do the Panthers really have a shot at landing "Disco Dan" as their new head coach?
- For those calling to changes of the NHL rule book, you may be in luck.
- The NHL made a lot of money this season (yay!) meaning there should be significant increases in the salary cap ceiling and floor this offseason (even more yay!)
- Congratulations Sam Bennett, you can now do at least two pull-ups. How cool. My 14 year old, 4'9, 95 lb brother can also do two! I'm not impressed, and I really don't care. He's a top prospect for his hockey ability, not his ability to lift weights.
- This article almost makes me physically sick. "Florida Panthers Should be Shopping the Number 1 Pick"... Agree? Disagree? I'm personally not sure where I stand, but the reasons given are just atrocious.