We are still only at mid-July, but it's beyond clear the offseason champs are the Florida Panthers. Coming off a weak season where mistakes were made, cutting Grabner the biggest, the Panthers have had a fantastic offseason.
Draft day was a home run. Jonathan Huberdeau had an outstanding season, a better playoffs and jumped to the top of the draft boards. He led Saint John to the Memorial Cup win and grabbed MVP of the tournament. Possibility of early impact is big. On to the free agents. Upshall, Jovanovski, Fleischmann, Bergenheim, Goc, Kopecky and Theodore. Did they overpay? A little. Too much? No. This is a team that needed an overhaul. Is Sean Bergenheim finally coming into his own? or was his playoff performance a peak? Remains to be seen. After seeing him the Islanders for a few years, the talent is there and he was always responsible in his own zone. They know what they're getting with Upshall and Jovo. Fleischmann could use a healthy season. The big question mark for the Panthers will be Theodore. What's left and how often? After relying on Vokoun to play around 60 games a season, it'll be interesting to see how the goaltending is handled or if they're going to add another. Plenty of time remains to see if any other parts get added. All in all, exciting time to be a Panthers fan.