October 01, 2014

FLORIDA PANTHERS

LAST SEASON: 29-45-8, 66 points. Missed the playoffs by finishing 15th in the Eastern Conference.

COACH: Gerald Gallant, 1st season with Panthers; 4th overall in NHL, 56-76-4.

ADDED: C Jussi Jokinen, C Dave Bolland, D Willie Mitchell, G Al Montoya, C Derek MacKenzie, LW Shawn Thornton.

LOST: D Tom Gilbert, C Scott Gomez, C Marcel Goc, D Ed Jovanovski, G Tim Thomas, G Scott Clemmensen, G Jacob Markstrom.

PLAYER TO WATCH: G Roberto Luongo. For as much as the Panthers are talking about scoring more goals and improving special teams - and rightly so - Florida's hopes hinge upon one of the most popular players in team history. If Luongo is great, the Panthers could be a playoff team. If he struggles, so will Florida.

OUTLOOK: So much has to change quickly for Florida to get in playoff contention, but the Panthers went out and tried during the offseason to revamp just about everything from locker-room mood to on-ice style. Opening with five road games in the season's first seven outings may set the tone.

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