We are almost there... There is now just one more day to go until the opening of the 2019-20 NHL season and two more days before the Florida Panthers take on the Tampa Bay Lightning at Amalie Arena to kick off what we all hope will be a very special campaign.
The Cats will hold a practice at Panthers IceDen at 11 a.m. this morning. Brett Connolly practiced yesterday, so all indications are he will be a go for Thursday night.
The staff of NHL.com made it’s playoff predictions and the Panthers did get a lot of love.
Mike Morreale, Bill Price, Sebastian Deschambault and Brian Compton have the Panthers finishing third in the Atlantic Division.
Dan Rosen, Shawn Roarke, Rob Reese, Jon Lane, Adam Kimelman, Tom Gulitti, Nicholas Cotsonika, Tim Campbell, Sergei Feldman, David Satriano, Dave Stubbs and Mike Zelsberger picked the Panthers as the first wild card.
Amalie Benjamin and Tracey Myers have the Cats as the second wild card in the Eastern Conference,
Pete Jensen and William Douglas were the only staff members that have the Panthers missing the playoffs.
So, 18 out of 20 people picked Florida to make the playoffs.
Yahoo Hockey has the Cats ranked 13th in its Power Rankings saying this:
13. Florida Panthers
Sergei Bobrovsky for the retired Roberto Luongo makes the Panthers better in goal. They also added much-needed depth and a proven head coach in Joel Quenneville. Florida is not in the top-three of the Atlantic Division, but may be a 100-point team.
The folks at Sportsnet noted the Panthers for a few things in their Insider predictions article.
Gord Stellick and Ryan Dixon picked Aleksander Barkov to win the Hart Trophy.
Rory Boylan tabbed the Cats as the team most likely to disappoint.
Luke Fox and Dan Murphy picked Sergei Bobrovsky as the Vezina winner.
Stellick, Eric Francis, Iain MacIntyre and Eric Engels