- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
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KEY ADDITIONS D Brian Campbell, LW Tomas Fleischmann, D Ed Jovanovski, LW Kris Versteeg
KEY LOSSES LW Rostislav Olesz, C Marty Reasoner, G Tomas Vokoun
FOR ALL their flaws, the Panthers committed the second fewest turnovers (474 giveaways) among Eastern teams last season. The summer, however, was full of turnover. Florida will have at least a dozen new faces, after finishing last season with 16 losses in its last 20 games and missing the playoffs for an NHL record 10th straight season. G.M. Dale Tallon infused skill into the lineup, adding veteran defensemen Brian Campbell and Ed Jovanovski. Campbell, an able quarterback, should help a power play that was last in the league (13.1%).
The Panthers also have high hopes for 19-year-old defenseman Erik Gudbranson, the third pick in the 2010 draft, who brings both skill (five points in seven games for Canada at the World Juniors) and menace. Last year the 6'4", 195-pounder earned 105 penalty minutes and two suspensions in just 44 games with Kingston of the Ontario Hockey League.
Up front, Florida added Kris Versteeg, Scottie Upshall and Tomas Fleischmann, each of whom has a 20-goal season on his résumé. The changes can only make the Panthers better, but the playoff chase will fall short again.
COACH Claude Noel (1st season)
LAST SEASON 34-36-12 (12th in East)
KEY ADDITIONS RW Eric Fehr, LW Tanner Glass