The 2017-18 season was a strange one for the Florida Panthers, they missed the playoffs for the second straight year — but in doing so, matched an NHL mark for most points by a team that didn’t qualify for the postseason (96, tied with the 2014-15 Bruins).
Their offseason moves have been interesting thus far, to say the least.
Just before the NHL draft, the Panthers picked up forward Mike Hoffman from San Jose (hours after the Sharks acquired him from Ottawa), which should bolster their offense and perhaps their drama. Hoffman, 28, has scored 20 or more goals in each of the last four seasons, including 22 in 2017-18, when he appeared in all 82 games and scored 56 points for Ottawa. Meanwhile, his girlfriend was embroiled in an ugly cyberbullying case involving Senators superstar Erik Karlsson and his wife.
Florida also added Bogdan Kiselevich, a 28-year-old Russian defenseman with no previous NHL experience, but who was a member of the gold-medal winning team in the 2018 Winter Olympics.
After loading up on offense in the draft, the Panthers are entering their 25th anniversary season with loads of curiosity about their future. For many fans, that curiosity extends to the equipment bag.
Here’s a rundown of some of your favorite Panthers paraphernalia:
Hoffman seems to have unusual taste in sticks. He’s one of just 13 players in the league using the TRUE A6.0 SBP. Ironically, Nick Bjugstad, who was elevated to the Panthers’ top line last season and finished with career highs of 30 assists and 49 points, also wields an A6.0 — and he may see diminished ice time as a result of Hoffman’s acquisition.
Meanwhile, just five players in the league use TRUE’s XCORE 9, and Panthers restricted free agent Alex Petrovic defenseman is one of them. Petrovic also wears TRUE Pro gloves, joining Hoffman among the dozen players in the league to do so.
Speaking of TRUE, its Pro Custom skate is the fourth-most popular model across the league, though none of the Panthers skaters wear it. However, both Roberto Luongo and James Reimer wear a TRUE skate in the nets.
Furnishing the Front-Liners
- Aleksander Barkov led the Panthers in scoring with 78 points on 27 goals and a team-high 51 assists. His Bauer Nexus 1N is the fourth-most popular stick in the league and second-most popular stick on a Panthers squad that is buggy about Bauer. Fully half the roster uses Bauer sticks. Barkov also uses Bauer Vapor 1X gloves and skates, and a Bauer 5100 helmet.
- Evgenii Dadonov was one of the best free-agent acquisitions of last offseason, notching 28 goals and 37 assists in 2017-18. He’s all Bauer except for his Easton Stealth CX stick. While it is the most popular among four Easton sticks used in the league last season, it was the only item of Easton gear in the Panthers’ dressing room.
- Vincent Trocheck led the team with 31 goals and added 44 assists. His STX Surgeon RX2 stick was used by three other players in the league last season. He and Michael Healy were among five NHL players to wear Surgeon 500 gloves.
The Big Picture
When it comes to sticks, Bauer gets the call as often as not. The Vapor 1X Lite is used by more than a quarter of the team. However, there are four CCM models in the Panthers’ dressing room — the Jetspeed, Ribcor Trigger ASY, RBZ FT1 and Super Tacks 2.0.
Bauer’s Vapor 1X gloves are far and away the most popular among the Panthers. Seven players wear them, while none of the other dozen glove models listed for the squad is worn by more than two players.
When it comes to skates, it’s either Bauer (worn by 63 percent of the team, most of those in the Vapor 1X) or CCM (its Super Tacks is No. 2 in team-wide popularity). Helmets are the same, again with Bauer owning 63 percent of the market, with its Re-Akt topping the most heads, followed by CCM’s Vector V08 and Bauer’s 4500.
Author bio: AJ Lee is Marketing Coordinator for Pro Stock Hockey, an online resource for pro stock hockey equipment. He was born and raised in the southwest suburbs of Chicago, and has been a huge Blackhawks fan his entire life. AJ picked up his first hockey stick at age 3, and hasn’t put it down yet