- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
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- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
KEY LOSSES G Craig Anderson, D Jay Bouwmeester, D Nick Boynton, LW Ville Peltonen, D Karlis Skrastinš, C Anthony Stewart, RW Richard Zednik
The Panthers tend to make news for what they've lost rather than what they've won. The team hasn't been to the playoffs in 10 years, and it has a bad habit of trading its best players: goalie Roberto Luongo in 2006, center Olli Jokinen in '08 and franchise defenseman Jay Bouwmeester in June (to Calgary for Jordan Leopold and a draft pick).
A highly regarded figure who does return is second-year coach Peter DeBoer, a two-time OHL coach of the year who promotes an aggressive forechecking game. "Taking over a new job in a new league, there were some pitfalls," DeBoer says of last season. "The first 10, 15 games, we were putting in a new style of play and I was getting to know the players."
DeBoer has promising young forwards in 30-goal scorer David Booth (below), power forward Nathan Horton and 21-year-old Michael Frolik, nicknamed Baby Jagr for his flair and his soft hands. But defensively there's no one to make up for the loss of Bouwmeester—and that's the main reason Florida's postseason drought will continue.
LAST SEASON 35-41-6 (13th in East)
KEY ADDITIONS RW Nik Antropov, D Pavel Kubina, RW Anthony Stewart, D Noah Welch
KEY LOSSES D Garnet Exelby, LW Colin Stuart
When Ilya Kovalchuk (above) speaks, the Thrashers listen.