Florida Panthers: Season Prediction

It’s almost that time again. We’re less than a month away from the drop of the puck for the first preseason game of the year. Most hockey news outlets are starting to put out their predictions for the year so it’s our turn to do the same. The Panther Parkway staff will weigh in with predictions for a variety of Panthers’ topics and coming up this season. So let’s get the ball rolling.

Jacob’s predictions

End of season Point total: 108 points
Division standings: 2nd place

I think the Panthers will have a complete turnaround and tear up the regular season, but they fall just two points short of either Tampa or Toronto for the division crown which will be the slightest disappointment for a franchise and fan base flying back into the playoffs after the best regular season in franchise history.

leading scorer: sasha barkov (101 points)

Sasha Barkov is already one of the most dominant players in the NHL today. He does it quietly, but he is one of the best in the world. This season he tops 100 points for the first time in his career after exploding for 96 last year. He also takes home the Selke trophy and firmly establishes himself as a top five player in the world.

breakout performer: Henrik borgstrom

I was torn between Aaron Ekblad and Henrik Borgstrom here. I fully expect Ekblad to have his best ever season due to the new coaching staff which will see him score 45+ points and improve defensively. But, I can’t really call him a breakout performer after he already won the Calder Trophy in his young career. So I’m going with Borgstrom. He will anchor the third line and score 20+ goals to go along with 20+ assists. Coach Q will recognize his talent and allow him the ice time he needs to grow into a very effective center. Combine that with the big off-season he has presumably had, and the fact that Barkov and Trocheck will handle the top six center duties, and you have Borgstrom coming into his own while playing against other team’s bottom two lines. That makes for a 40+ point breakout season.

playoff finish: stanley cup final appearance

The Panthers will make it to the Stanley Cup Final this year and fall in six games to the Colorado Avalanche. That’ll really sting the long-time Panther fans given the fact that it was the Avalanche who stomped on the Panthers last Stanley Cup run in 1996. But, this time is different. This loss will be the lesson the current Panthers’ core has to learn and they will win a Cup by 2022.


Yes, I know my predictions are lofty. This is a Panthers core with very little playoff experience, even if the newcomers bring tons of it. And they are in the toughest division in the NHL. And, while everyone acknowledges that the Panthers made the moves to get in the playoffs, most “experts” still have them in a tier well-below Tampa, Toronto, Boston, and even Montreal. But, I look at this roster, this team’s prospect pool, this coaching staff, and this ownership group, and I think “Why not?” When Aaron Ekblad called the Panthers “the team to beat” last week, I believed him. This team checks all the boxes on paper. They have the talent on the ice. They have the coaching behind the bench. They have the depth in the system. They have the ownership that spent the money. They have the assets to swing a few trades at the deadline to make a run if they so choose. And, on paper, I don’t see another team in the east that can say it has much better talent or coaching than the Panthers do. Why not make a run and shock the hockey world?

Alex’s Predictions

End of season Point total: 104 points
Division standings: 3rd place (behind Tampa, Toronto)

The Panthers finish in an Atlantic division that goes Tampa, Toronto, Florida, Boston in that order. All four teams make the playoffs. I see Montreal and Buffalo being the next tier but not really contending for a playoff spot while Detroit and Ottawa bring up not only the bottom of the conference, but near the bottom of the NHL.

leading scorer: sasha barkov (95 points):

Barkov is the leading scorer with about 95 points and an improved defensive season. Yes, I know that sounds crazy, but by every advanced metric, Barkov had a less than stellar year defensively. He would be the first to tell you that he can and will be better.

breakout performer: Mike Matheson

I feel like Borgstrom is the easy answer. So I’m going to say Matheson. He’s got all the talent in the world to be a top 4 d-man. Last year was horrible for him, but his issues were almost entirely mental. The skill level is absolutely there. A fresh start under Coach Q gets him on track and he has a breakout year.

playoff finish: 2nd round

I think this is a second round team. They have the talent to go toe to toe with my predicted 1st round opponent in the Toronto Maple Leafs. If that’s the case, they will have the goaltender in Bobrovsky who can shut down the Leafs potent offense and as crazy as it sounds will have the advantage on defense. That’s a series they can win. After that, who knows.


Anything less than the 2nd round would be a failure. There are no more excuses.  This has taken long enough, just making it to the playoffs is not enough. The just get their feel good season was 2 years ago when they missed the playoffs. They better get in and win.

Spencer’s opinion

End of season Point total: 101 points
Division standings: 3rd place

The Panthers finish third behind Tampa and Boston in the Atlantic division.

leading scorer: Sasha barkov (93 points)

Barkov leads the team with 93 points this season and Huberdeau is a close second.

breakout performer: Owen tippett

I can’t wait to see the product of Tippett’s development since his brief call-up and expect him to get second PP unit minutes if he has a strong enough camp.

playoff finish: 2nd round

Second round exit. I think we’ll beat Boston in round one and lose to Tampa in a much-anticipated Florida Series.

I’ve got some high hopes for the core of last year’s team. I think Q will get good things out of guys like Borgstrom to help the continuation of his NHL transition and I think we see a much-improved defense in front of a stellar goalie. Second round exit isn’t the worst thing in the world, and it’s a great start for this era.

Nick’s opinion

End of season Point total: 96 points
Division standings: 4th/3rd

Tampa, Boston, Toronto, Florida: That order and they all make the playoffs. Although if Marner continues to hold out, and he should, I can see Toronto falling to 4th and the Panthers sliding into 3rd.

leading scorer: Jonathan Huberdeau (75 points)

Huberdeau is the leading scorer with about 75 points. He’ll be expected to be more responsible in the D zone this season with Q behind the bench, but it won’t stop him from putting up 50+ assists again.

breakout performer: Mike matheson

Alex wisely took my answer. Matheson. I expect his D game to come back to him and he’ll remind us of Duncan Keith.

playoff finish: Eastern conference finals

I think this is a Eastern Conference Finals team. All they have to do is win one round to believe. Not only for themselves but for every fan. It’s been too long since the last play-off round win. It’s time to change that in a big way.


This team is top 7 in the league and I expect them to do some major damage. But they will only go as far as their goaltending and defense takes them. Bob finally got the playoff monkey off his back. Time for him to take the next step.

Who’s prediction is most likely to play out this season? Who do you think is dead wrong? What’s your expert prediction? Let us know in the comments!


  1. I have Boston, Tampa, Panthers and Toronto,
    99 points, leading scorer Barkov 103 most improved Matheson.

    Eastern Conference Final, who ever comes out of the Atlantic will be dead on feet and beat up after 2 extremely tough rounds

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