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With all the moves Florida made prior to the start of this season, expecting a better team was simply logical. However, not many imagined the Panthers would be leading their division over both the Washington Capitals and Tampa Bay Lightning.
Part of the pleasant surprise is the play of Kris Versteeg. Versteeg's 33 points in 31 games puts him on pace to smash his career high of 53. He is on pace for 86 this season.
Versteeg's linemates Stephan Weiss and Tomas Fleischmann are just under point-per-game production at 31 and 30 points (respectively) through 32 games.
After this high-scoring trio, the Panthers have little sources of offensive production from the forwards. Tomas Kopecky is fourth with just 13 points.
The Panthers need depth; if a good defensive pairing is able to shut down that top line, Florida has no chance of scoring.
Luckily for Florida, the team has $10.7 million in cap space available to add a high-scoring forward. If any of the rumored superstars are actually available, Florida's management should make a push if they are serious about winning.
The biggest names potentially available include Zach Parise, Alexander Semin, Eric Staal and Jarome Iginla. Though general managers have denied both Staal and Iginla's availability, Florida would certainly love adding one of these players.
Florida would have an easier time dealing with the western conference Flames and Iginla than New Jersey, Washington or Carolina.
Iginla would give the Panthers offense and leadership they are currently lacking.