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?
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 DEPARTURES: D Tom Gilbert
PROJECTED DEPTH CHART
Jonathan Huberdeau — Aleksander Barkov — Scottie Upshall
Jussi Jokinen — Nick Bjugstad — Brad Boyes
Tomas Fleischmann — Dave Bolland — Tomas Kopecky
Sean Bergenheim — Derek MacKenzie — Shawn Thornton
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