The Challenge for Florida Panthers' New Owners

Eric LaForgeCorrespondent INovember 19, 2009

SUNRISE, FL - NOVEMBER 16: Head coach Peter DeBoer of the Florida Panthers goes over a play with Dennis Seidenberg #4 and Jordan Leopold #44 during th eovertime period against the Los Angeles Kings on November 16, 2009 at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Florida. The Kings defeated the Panthers 4-3. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)
Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

The Florida Panthers have been floating at the bottom of the standings for a long time. It’s not the players that are losing these games, it’s the management. If you were to ask me, I would consider the Panthers to be the worst managed team in the NHL.

As you probably know, the Florida Panthers now have two new owners that have said that they are committed to winning and are going to hold people accountable. That’s exactly what the team needs. They need an owner who will stop at nothing to win games.

It usually takes around five years to build a good team, and the Panthers have been at the bottom of the standings for as long as I can remember. That’s not the fault of the team, that’s the fault of the ownership. For example, take a look at the Pittsburgh Penguins who were dead last in the Eastern Conference a few years ago, and are now the defending Stanley Cup Champions.

Owners that are “committed to winning” are exactly what every team needs. If you ask me, a team can win or lose the Stanley Cup based on who owns the team.

What the two new owners for the Panthers have to accomplish is a lot. I’m sure that they are envisioning a Stanley Cup in the future, but for right now, they have to start building a team.

Florida is, once again, going to have a chance to grab some top draft picks. They need to get some young people on the team that they can start building a team around. Kind of like the Pens did with Sidney Crosby a few years ago.

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The problem is that the Panthers aren’t exactly making the kind of money they need to be. They have been struggling financially for the past few years. That’s why they will have a hard time signing a lot of good players. They will have a hard time affording it.

However, they should still sign a few players. Getting a few good players, even though it would cost some money, would increase the advertising revenue that the Panthers could make. It would also give Florida fans a reason to come to games.

Another key factor is a good goalie. They have to keep Vokoun no matter what another team offers for him. A good goalie is the most important player on a team. Even if you have the best offense in the world, you will still lose the majority of your games with a bad goalie.

Take the Detroit Red Wings for example. During the beginning of the year, their goalies were letting in a lot of goals. Both were at the bottom of the league in GAA and save percentage. Their offense couldn’t keep up with the amount of goals the goalies were letting in.

Eventually, something exciting will happen to the Panthers. It may not be this season, it may not even be the next season. Eventually, everything is going to click. The chemistry will be there, the goalie will be there, the scoring will be there, and we’ll see a new Florida team.

However, if they don’t start building the team now, it could be a decade before the Panthers have a shot at anything. I’m really anxious to see how well the Panthers do in the next few seasons and I wish the new owners the best of luck.


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