The Florida Panthers are playoff contenders. Being in contention, however, does not make them an actual playoff team.
The Panthers went on a shopping spree this past summer, signing 11 new players in under a week. The Dale Tallon-led onslaught on the free agent market shows that Florida is dedicated to winning now.
At this early point in the season, it's too early to tell if this team is for real. Florida has missed the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs for a record 10 consecutive seasons. If this embarrassing streak is to be ended, there are 10 things that need to happen.