How to Improve The Florida Panthers’ Brand

When new owner Vincent Viola took the reins of the Florida Panthers prior to the start of the 2013-14 season, he made it very clear that the team would no longer be content to simply survive in Florida, but flourish instead.

As the inaugural season of the Viola-Cifu era comes to a close, both players and management have already begun to look ahead to an offseason in which new ownership will have the time and planning to truly make their mark both on and off the ice.

With that in mind, there are several key areas that should be addressed if the organization hopes to go from a perpetual sideshow to a respected franchise.

Some areas in need of change are obvious.

[Read more...]

Panther Parkway Radio: Jeff Marek Discusses Mackenzie Weegar, Free Agency, Draft Day & More!

Tune in to tonight’s show where we discuss the biggest Florida Panthers news of the week with Jeff Marek!

Host: Paige Lewis

Guests: Jameson Cooper and Jeff Marek of Hockey Central

Topics

  • SportsNet
  • What does Mackenzie Weegar do for the Panthers blue line?
  • Ekblad discussion
  • Panthers draft discussion
  • Is Florida an attractive free agent destination?
  • Best free agents for Florida

New Episode Here

We welcome your comments and feedback!

Follow Paige on Twitter @PaigeLewisFL

For All Your Florida Panthers’ Updates Follow Panther Parkway on Facebook

Follow Panther Parkway on Instagram @ PantherParkway

Florida Panthers Win 2014 NHL Draft Lottery

Things may finally be looking up for the Florida Panthers as the team won the NHL’s annual draft lottery on Tuesday night.

By winning Tuesday’s lottery, Florida erases the bad memory of missing out on last year’s 1st overall selection, even after finishing with the worst record in the NHL.

This was the third time in franchise history that the ping-pong balls bounced favorably and the Panthers won the annual lottery. In both 2002 and 2003, Florida traded its top pick for the third overall selection.

With just an 18.8% chance of winning, Florida jumped over Buffalo (25% chance), much like Colorado had done to the Panthers just a year ago.

This year will mark the fourth time in the past five seasons that the Panthers have had a top-three pick. Selecting Aleksander Barkov, Jonathan Huberdeau and Erik Gudbranson in the previous three. Given their history of trading the overall top pick, the Panthers haven’t actually picked first since taking current team captain Ed Jovanovski in 1994.

Void of a consensus number one pick in this year’s draft, the Panthers may once again look to move their pick as it seems quality players will be available throughout the majority of the first round.

However, if the team does decide to hold onto their pick, players such as D Aaron Ekblad, F Sam Reinhart and F Sam Bennett are thought to be this year’s top talent.

The 2014 NHL Entry Draft will be held on June 27–28, 2014 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

[Read more...]

Panther Parkway Radio: Season Review, Coaching, Draft, Free Agency & Who Should Stay?

Tune in to tonight’s show where we discuss the biggest Florida Panthers news of the week!

Host: Paige Lewis

Guests: Frank Rekas, Dave Lasseter, Jameson Cooper and Mike Lewis (no relations to Paige)

Topics

  • Season Review: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.
  • Coaching change?
  • Draft Lottery/Draft Day
  • 5 guys you would want in Free Agency
  • Veterans. Who stays, who goes?
  • Does Dan Ellis have a future with the Cats?
  • Tanner Glass makes the world go ’round.

New Episode Here

We welcome your comments and feedback!

Follow Paige on Twitter @PaigeLewisFL

For All Your Florida Panthers’ Updates Follow Panther Parkway on Facebook

Follow Panther Parkway on Instagram @ PantherParkway

Panthers Kickoff 2014 Offseason With Draft Lottery Tuesday

Just days after the final game of the 2013-14 regular season, the Florida Panthers are set to begin their first offseason under new ownership headed by Vincent Viola. Though the team hopes to solve most of their roster problems in free agency, the first important event of the 2014 offseason kicks off tomorrow night with the annual NHL Draft Lottery.

Set to begin at 8 p.m., ET, the Panthers will have an 18.8% chance at winning this year’s top pick after finishing 29th in the NHL with a final record of 29-45-8.

Given that no team can slide more than one spot back of their finishing position, the Panthers are guaranteed at least a top-three pick in this year’s draft regardless of what luck they may or may not have tomorrow night.

The chance to win this year’s first-overall selection for every lottery team is as follows:

[Read more...]

Florida Panthers Season In Review. The Good, The Bad, The Ugly.

Saturday night the regular season ended for the Florida Panthers the way it has in 12 of the past 13 seasons; out of the playoffs.  In addition the Panthers will once again be slated for one of the top three picks in this years draft.  Another familiar position they’ve known all too well since the summer of 2010.  The season was summed up perfectly by young defenceman Erik Gudbranson who had this to say after Saturday night’s loss to Columbus:

“It difficult. You never want to be in this position,” Panthers defenseman Erik Gudbranson said. “This isn’t fun. We put ourselves behind the 8-ball early in the season in that nine-game stretch, and we really didn’t recover well.

“It’s a disappointing feeling in here. You want to be in the playoffs. For it to end so abruptly now, it’s difficult.”

Now that the season has been completed, we’ll look at what worked, what didn’t work, and what we don’t want to see again.

[Read more...]

Panther Parkway Post-Game: Panthers vs. Blue Jackets

Stars of the game

1st: Ryan Johansen (1G-1A-2P)

2nd: Jimmy Hayes (1G-0A-1P)

3rd: Mark Letestu (1G-0A-1P)

[Read more...]

The Future of the Florida Panthers Blue Line is Bright

With one game remaining in the 2013-2014 regular season, the Florida Panthers find themselves in all too familiar territory. Last season, the Panthers finished dead last in both Goals Against per Game (GA/G) and the Penalty Kill (PK%), and this year has been no different. Currently ranked 27th in GA/G, allowing 3.20 goals per game, and 30th in PK%, Dale Tallon and the Hockey Operations staff may have their work cut out for them this summer, whether it be via Free Agency or trades.

Fast-forward to the very near future, and the Panthers may have something they’ve longed for since Tallon was hired as the General Manager of the Panthers; flexibility to spend and depth on defense.

Though the Panthers have struggled offensively in recent years, drafting centers Aleksander Barkov and Nick Bjugstad will finally give the Cats the stability up the middle for the first time since the Jokinen era. While drafting these mammoth centermen was the correct choice for any GM in Tallon’s position to make, the current blue line still leaves something to be desired.

Luckily for Panthers’ fans, Tallon has done a superb job of drafting Grade A defensemen during his tenure as the Panthers General Manager. While Dmitry Kulikov, Erik Gudbranson and Dylan Olsen remain the face of the Panthers young defensive core, there are a handful of reliable defensemen in the Cats prospect pool just waiting for their chance at the big show.

[Read more...]

Panther Parkway Post-Game: Panthers vs. Leafs

Stars of the game

1st: Nick Bjugstad (2G-1A-3P)

2nd: Brad Boyes (1G-1A-2P)

3rd: Sean Bergenheim (0G-2A-2P)

Goals (Panthers 4, Leafs 2)

FLA: Brandon Pirri (13) Assists: Quinton Howden, Brian Campbell

TOR: Tyler Bozak (19) Assists: Jake Gardiner, James van Riemsdyk

FLA: Brad Boyes (21) Assists: Nick Bjugstad, Sean Bergenheim

FLA: Nick Bjugstad (15) Assists: Sean Bergenheim, Brad Boyes

FLA: Nick Bjugstad (16) (Short-Handed) Assists: Tomas Fleischmann, Colby Robak

TOR: Paul Ranger (6) Assists: Tyler Bozak, Jake Gardiner

[Read more...]

Nick Bjugstad on The Verge of Making Panthers History

SUNRISE, Fla — Just one game remaining in the Florida Panthers 2013-14 season and rookie center Nick Bjugstad has a chance to make history.

With 81 games already in the books, Bjugstad currently sits atop the Panthers’ scoring list with 38 (16-22-38) total points. If he can manage to hold onto this lead with just one more game to play, he will become the fist Panthers’ rookie to ever win the team’s scoring title.

Bjugstad entered Thursday night’s game against the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs in the midst of a four-game scoring drought, but still just two points behind Scottie Upshall’s team-leading 37 points.

After notching one assist through the first two periods, Bjugstad netted his first goal since March 1 on a beautiful wrap-around that squeaked past Maple Leafs’ goaltender Drew Macintyre at 3:23 of the third period.

[Read more...]

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