The Panthers' Defense Rests

Aaron BrenkerCorrespondent IAugust 22, 2008

Throughout Jacques Martin's tenure as Florida Panthers' General Manager, he has built this team around the concept solid defense creates good offense. This concept has given the Panthers good defense, but it has left their offense for dead. The Panthers defense has always been decent.

It has been the Panthers' offense that has kept them from staying in playoff races and achieving playoff berths. The trade of Olli Jokinen was an excellent opportunity for the Panthers to acquire a solid forward, but instead they acquired two players at a position they were solid at. Those two players were Nick Boynton and Keith Ballard.

These recent acquisitions have left most Florida fans frustrated and confused. Each year the Panthers' glaring need has been scoring forwards, but instead Martin has acquired defense men, and when he actually has acquired forwards it has been players at the tail end of their careers such as Joe Nieuwendyk, Jozef Stumpel, Chris Gratton and many more.

Now rumors have heated up that Martin is interested in acquiring another defense man. The Panthers are interested in acquiring Toronto defense man Bryan McCabe. What most Panthers fans have not realized is that there is actually a forward involved in the Bryan McCabe package, Alexei Ponikarovsky. This is the lone reason I want this trade to go down.

Ponikarovsky is a hard working player who would flourish on the Panthers' third line. The Panthers' future seems to hold the same cards, as they have drafted defensively. In the 2008, NHL draft the Panthers used four of their five picks on defense. The lack of scoring forwards has left all the pressure on young players to pick up the slack. It will now be up to players like Nathan Horton, David Booth, Stephen Weiss, and others to become scoring threats.

Even with the probable loss of Jay Bouwmeester, the Panthers should be solid at defense, so Jacques Martin please focus more on offense.