With 15 games in the books so far and a record of 4-7-4 to show for it, the Florida Panthers are painting themselves in a corner with little margin for error. The next five games on the schedule are going to tell us a great deal about the balance of the season. Games against Philadelphia and Pittsburgh on the road (back to back too), followed by three home games against Boston, Pittsburgh and Buffalo will be no walk in the park, especially the way Florida has been playing lately. The only good news is that the Southeast Division is so weak, that the Panthers despite their dismal record are only five points off the division lead. Regardless of that fact, it’s becoming blatantly obvious that the team needs something in order to help get them to the next level, whether that be this season, or next.
Dale Tallon has a five year plan, and last year’s division championship may have come a year or two early, in order for the Florida Panthers to excel and be a consistent playoff contender, ultimately challenging for the Stanley Cup, a proven player or two needs to be acquired. We have drafted extremely well over the past two seasons, and have some of the brightest young players coming up the ranks in the future, yet we need at least one or two skilled players to be mixed in with the current group. A top notch goal scorer or sniper if you will, and a hard working consistently producing forward would fill the bill. Building through the draft, making a few trades, and signing key free agents are all part of the mixture. Here’s five unrestricted free agents that deserve a look:
1) Ryan Getzlaf: A true big center to finally lineup against everyone else’s top pivot man, Getzlaf has a superior skill set for someone with his size. While he’s not as much of a goal scorer as a set up man, he can still put the puck in the net and get his share of goals. He’s been fortunate to play with some gifted wingers like Corey Perry for example, allowing him to focus more on setting up rather than scoring. Depending on who his linemates are, he could be a player who’s goals and assists are more even more if he takes more shots. Currently making $5.325 million he may be out of our price range, and Anaheim might want to keep him. Rumor has it he’s building or has built a house in that area, so he may be looking to stay. It’s still worth a shot to make him an offer.