Atlantic Division 2014-15 Preview: Florida Panthers - Sports Illustrated

Atlantic Division 2014-15 Preview: Florida Panthers

2014-14 NHL Atlantic Division preview: The Florida Panthers have some exciting young players, but a piecemeal feel. Can new coach Gerard Gallant get this team to gel?
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COACH:

2013-14 RECORD: 29-45-8, 66 points (seventh in Atlantic; missed playoffs)

VITAL SIGNS: 2.39 goals-for per game (28th); 3.27 goals-against per game (29th); 10.04 power play pct. (30th); 75.9 penalty kill pct. (30th); shoot record: 8-6 (8th)

NOTABLE ARRIVALS: F Dave Bolland, F Jussi Jokinen, D Willie Mitchell, D Aaron Ekblad

NOTABLE DEPARTURES: D Tom Gilbert

PROJECTED DEPTH CHART

Forwards
Jonathan Huberdeau — Aleksander Barkov — Scottie Upshall
Jussi Jokinen — Nick Bjugstad — Brad Boyes
Tomas Fleischmann — Dave Bolland — Tomas Kopecky
Sean Bergenheim — Derek MacKenzie — Shawn Thornton
Brandon Pirri, 

Defensemen
Brian Campbell — Dmitry Kulikov
Willie Mitchell — Aaron Ekblad
Erik Gudbranson — Dylan Olsen
Greg Zanon

Goalies
Roberto Luongo
Al Montoya

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PLAYER TO WATCH: Aleksander Barkov

Barkov, perhaps the most talented member of Florida's kiddie corps, projects to be the team's long-term No. 1 center. Short term? We'll see. He had his rookie season cut short after suffering a knee injury while playing for Finland during the 2014 Winter Olympics and needs to prove that he can handle the responsibilities over a full NHL season. And there is an upside to playing for a team with low expectations. Barkov has the opportunity gain experience in a low-pressure environment.

PREDICTION: 77 points, seventh in Atlantic

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