Cory Stillman: Florida Panthers Missing Ingredient

Aaron BrenkerCorrespondent IAugust 18, 2008

In the Florida Panthers franchise's history, they have struggled to find that solid role player needed for a playoff run.

The Panthers have tried in the past to find tough players, with playoff experience. They tried with veterans Gary Roberts and Joe Nieuwendyk, but they struggled to stay healthy.

Florida tried bringing in Todd Bertuzzi, but he failed to stay away from injury. The Panthers even tried to pair Pavel Bure with the Professor, Igor Larionov via trade with Detroit, but that was a huge failure and the Cats quickly sent him back to Detroit.

The acquisition of Cory Stillman may finally give the Panthers that role player they desperately need. Stillman brings to the table loads of experience, goal scoring and most important leadership.

Leadership is extremely important for the young Panthers team, as they shipped away Olli Jokinen this offseason. Jokinen was the team's captain for the past five years.

Stillman has won two consecutive Stanley Cups, with the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Carolina Hurricanes. The Peterborough, Ontario native proved he could get the job done in the playoffs, as he amassed 26 points in 25 games for the Carolina Hurricanes.

In his last season, Stillman tallied 24 goals and 41 assists. He was traded from the Carolina Hurricanes to the Ottawa Senators last season.

He struggled to build chemistry with his linemates in Ottawa. It is important that the Panthers find Stillman a line that he can develop good chemistry on.

It is pretty apparent that the Panthers have found their new captain. Stillman has more experience than a good amount of the Panthers, and could be an excellent mentor for players such as Nathan Horton, Stephen Weiss, David Booth, Rostislav Olesz and many others.

With Cory Stillman's superb offense, numerous years of experience, and excellent leadership the Panthers may have what they need for a playoff run.