So lately been thinking, why not give this blogging a try so I want to take a shot at it and will try to stick something up periodically, and possibly even on a weekly basis. So a quick little bit about myself, I have been a Panther and NHL fan since 1993 (Yup before they even had players), though have lived in the vast province of Saskatchewan. I like to think I have a pretty good knowledge of the NHL, and anyone who knows me will agree. So when I attempt to do this blogging, I will try to work a little of everything in. Oh yeah, and for the past 11 years I have been posting a free agent site on the net too…
Anyhow, on to my first shot at this.
So all summer since the Jokinen trade went down all I have heard about is that the Panthers are shooting themselves in the foot and that Jacques Martin is tearing the team to bits. Personally, I have liked a lot of what he has done to the team this summer, though there have been a few things I question. The Jokinen trade I have mixed feelings on. Firstly, I do think that he just might have gotten more for the teams constant top scorer. I liked the rumors of the Sedin twins, though realize that it may have taken a little more than just Olli to obtain them. But on the other hand, I like the players that came back. Keith Ballard is a very strong up and coming defenceman, whose potential has been talked about by teams for years. I think the Panthers offer him a good chance to breakthrough and show what he can do. Nick Boynton brings a strong veteran presence to the locker room. But most of all, this trade, along with the Cory Stillman signing and hiring of Peter DeBoer, brings change to the team that was sorely needed since the days of Pavel Bure.
Now many are trying to jump all over the fact that the team is not carrying the bonafide superstar that everyone desires. However, neither did Buffalo a few years ago when they won the regular season, the Predators for the past 3 years or a team that surprised the hockey world in 1996, the Florida Panthers.
When it comes to building a team, my personal preference is to build around a strong group of hardworking and cohesive players. That 1996 team was built on hardwork and strong defense and goaltending. And not one player was thought of as a superstar. This team never saw one until the Pavel Bure trade in 1999. The 1996 team employed youth in hard hitters Ed Jovanovski and Rhett Warrener, as well as forward Radek Dvorak. Not unlike this years edition which could see the new faces of Frolik and Mathias. Nathan Horton will be looked to for Scott Mellanby like leadership, as well as Stephen Weiss and the aforementioned Stillman. With a top goaltender in Thomas Vokoun and strong backup in Craig Anderson the potential is there. And Peter DeBoer has plans for a more aggressive, yet still defensive game plan, much like Doug MacLean’s 1996 team that accomplished so much 12 years ago when the team was consistently both seen as a top franchise in the standings as well in in the overall management by many.
I for one and looking forward to the season that is ahead and hopefully a team that puts forward a solid effort night in and night out. And lets not forget all this Bouwmeester talk which is intriguing to say the least. Quick thought on that topic in that I feel that Martin should seriously consider moving him, as a negative attitude should not be welcome at a time when turning things around could never be more important. There are bound to be some serious offers out that to consider, and while I am not so sure that the Flyers are offering, but any offer that includes Jeff Carter should be worth consideration, as would the recent talk of Marian Gaborik.