New year, new expectations
October 13, 2016
After a disappointing loss in the playoffs last year to the New York Islanders after six games, the Florida Panthers are ready to capitalize and produce another great season. Last year, with the additions of Jonathan Huberdaeu, Vincent Trocheck and 44-year old NHL legend Jaromir Jagr, the team was expected to be one of most successful teams in the league. With an early playoff exit at the hands of the New York Islanders, this dream came to a shocking end, with no sense of fulfillment after the winningest regular season in franchise history.
The Panthers will open up the season tonight against the New Jersey Devils with expectations set even higher than last year. Jaromir Jagr will return to the Panthers this year for his 28th season as an NHL player. Top-tier goalie Roberto Luongo will also be returning and try to capture a Stanley Cup after coming up short in the playoffs multiple times over the course of his 18-year career.
The Panthers had a particularly active off-season with the additions of Keith Yandle from the New York Rangers and James Reimer from the Toronto Maple Leafs. Yandle was traded to the Panthers for a 2017 fourth round and a 2016 sixth round pick. They also resigned young stars Aaron Ekblad, Aleksander Barkov and Reilly Smith among others, while extending the contracts of head coach Gerard Gallant and general manager Dale Tallon.
With a new season on the horizon, the Florida Panthers want to return to where they left off. The team will begin its quest for supremacy when the puck drops at 7:30 tonight, with all players wearing number 16 jerseys to honor the recently killed Marlins ace pitcher Jose Fernandez. They hope to become the final professional sports team in South Florida to win a championship.