The Florida Panthers racked up a franchise-high 103 points last season.
They almost completely changed their defense.
“We had a successful regular season,” said head coach Gerard Gallant, per the Sun Sentinel. “Obviously, we changed some dynamics on our team. We’re more puck movers, more skill, quicker. Hopefully, that pays off.”
The Panthers kick things off tonight against New Jersey at BB&T Center. They’ve already been hit by injuries to Nick Bjugstad and Jonathan Huberdeau, two of their best forwards, so there’s more to watch than just the defense.
But make no mistake, this is a team that believes it’s got the roster to compete for a Stanley Cup, led by number-one center Aleksander Barkov and Ekblad, its number-one defenseman.
“There’s a core of players here that know: we’ve given you great teammates, we’re going to add people as the opportunities arise,” co-owner Doug Cifu told Yahoo Sports in July, “but it’s up to you guys to come together as a team and win multiple Stanley Cups and that’s the plan.”