The Florida Panthers have had a very interesting franchise history. Over the last two years though, they have been one of the better teams in the National Hockey League.
In 2021-22, they won the President’s Trophy as the best team in the NHL’s regular season. They won one playoff series that year but lost in the second round. That was obviously a massive disappointment.
They then made a big trade that swapped two 100-point scorers. Jonathan Huberdeau was sent to the Calgary Flames and Matthew Tkachuk came to the Florida Panthers and signed a long-term extension.
Then, in 2022-23, they had a somewhat disappointing regular season for their standards. They snuck into the postseason as the eighth seed.
By being the last seed in the East, they earned a series with the Boston Bruins who had the greatest regular season in the history of the league.
Naturally, in typical hockey fashion, the Panthers took them down in seven games. Then, they went on to beat the Toronto Maple Leafs and Carolina Hurricanes to play in the Stanley Cup Final.
Unfortunately, Florida lost the series to the Vegas Golden Knights in five games and became the NHL’s runner-up. It was a great year for them even though they came up just short.
The Florida Panthers have been a great team over the last handful of years.
So over the last two years, the Panthers have a President’s Trophy and a Stanley Cup Final appearance. That’s not too shabby. They’d like to finish the job one of these days though.
It is safe to say that the Tkachuk trade worked out in their favor. He dragged them into the playoffs and then exploded in the playoffs. He was a Hart Trophy nominee for his efforts which is a great honor.
There are also tons of other good players there as well. Guys like Aleksander Barkov, Carter Verhaeghe, Sam Reinhart, Sam Bennett, and Aaron Ekblad amongst other skaters are looking to get the ring this year.
With Sergei Bobrovsky in the net, anything is possible. We’ve seen both good Bob and bad Bob in his Florida tenure.
One thing is obvious. Florida will be a better team in the regular season this season. That doesn’t mean they will get back to the final but their regular season record will surely be better than it was in 2022-23.
What they did in the second half of the year will be more of what you see all year this year. It should be a very exciting team to watch.
Somewhere between the last two years is probably what Florida is this year. With the Tampa Bay Lightning, Boston Bruins, and Toronto Maple Leafs, the top of the Atlantic Division is going to be awesome.