New Panthers prez is ‘incredibly optimistic’ about franchise’s future

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With new ownership that’s apparently given general manager Dale Tallon permission to spend to the salary cap, the Florida Panthers are definitely a team to watch leading up to tomorrow’s trade deadline, and into this summer’s draft and free agency.

Yesterday, we passed along the news that longtime club president Michael Yormark had resigned to go work with Jay-Z’s agency. Yormark was replaced with Rory Babich, who spoke optimistically about the future of the franchise.

“We’re incredibly optimistic,” Babich said, per the Miami Herald. “[Vinnie Viola and Doug Cifu] bought the team with the belief it can be very successful in South Florida. Dale and I certainly share that vision. That’s why we’re both here today.”

The Panthers already have some blue-chip youngsters, like Jonathan Huberdeau, Aleksander Barkov, Nick Bjugstad, Drew Shore, Erik Gudbranson, Dmitry Kulikov, and Michael Matheson. Even if they don’t all pan out perfectly, with some savvy trade and/or free-agent additions, the Panthers’ future could be a bright one on the ice.

As for off the ice, we’ll have to wait and see. If the Panthers turn into a consistent winner, will the fans support them?