Jacques Martin's Defensive Philosophy Is Offensive To Florida Panther Fans

Michael ManiscalcoContributor IJune 21, 2008

General Manager Jacques Martin continued his defensive approach having four of his five draft picks come from the defensive side of the ice.

Martin's  first draft pick (31st overall), was used on Swedish goaltender Jacob Markstrom. Markstrom led Sweden to their first ever gold medal at the 2007 Ivan Hlinka Memorial. He is very athletic and covers the net well. I like this pick because it provides the Panthers with a solid future netminder.

Florida's second draft pick (46th overall), was spent on stand out defenseman Colby Robak. Robak had six goals and 24 assists for Windsor in the WHL. He is a smooth skating defenseman who can move the puck out of danger in the defensive zone. I think this was a steal for Florida. Robak was projected to be a mid first rounder, so I was surprised to see him fall to the second round.

General Manager Martin used his 80th overall pick on defenseman Adam Comrie. Comrie had 10 goals and 18 assists with the Saginaw Spirit. He is a big player with a nice shot who has improved offensively this year. I personally do not like this pick at all. The Panthers are stockpiling too many defenseman.

The next pick by Florida (100th overall), was used on left winger A.J. Jenks. Jenks had 26 goals and 29 assists with Peter DeBoer's former team the Plymouth Whalers.

He is a reliable penalty killer and a great faceoff man. I like this pick. It provides the Panthers with a solid all around role player who can help the Panthers win key faceoffs.

The Panthers last pick (190th overall) was spent on yet another defenseman Matthew Bartkowski. Batkowski spent his years playing for Lincoln. It seems that Martin is trying too hard to try and emulate the Detroit Red Wings recent success with defensive hockey.

I find it unfathomable that four of our five picks were spent on defense.  If there was one thing the Panthers were fairly strong at, it was their defense. Florida must acquire an excellent offensive player via free agency or trade.

It is too much to expect young players to step up and fill Jokinen's 35-40 goals a year. If changes are not made, it looks like it will be nine years without a playoff spot for Florida Panther's fans.