The Florida Panthers suffered their second bad finish after making the playoffs in 2012. They have now only made the postseason once in the past 14 years, probably making them the least successful team during that time period. Again rebuilding, they’ve made a good start.
The first free agent they signed was my favorite player, Jussi Jokinen. He will bring 20-30 more goals with his scoring ability, and with his passing ability, he could also set up more goals. This will be beneficial considering they scored only 196 goals this past season. He will also bring some much needed penalty killing. The Panthers were dead last in that area at 76.0%. Another strength of a Jokinen is his face-off ability. He is one of the best in the league in that area. Of course when they make the playoffs again, he will be an important factor.
Dave Bolland is also a guy who can play 200 feet. In 23 games last season, he had 8 goals and 4 assists. That adds up to 45 points in 82 games. Out of his 8 goals, 1 was a powerplay goal, another was short-handed, and 2 were game winners. He is strong on the penalty kill and brings size to the equation. He is a nice physical presence to have.
Also bringing size is Shawn Thorton; he will hit and fight. He doesn’t score much, but he plays well in his own end.
Willie Mitchell was brought in defensively from LA. He is very sound in the defensive end, finishing with a +14 in the regular season. In the playoffs, he was a +10 in 18 games. He scored an important game-winning goal in the playoffs, as well.
They’ve had a good start to the rebuilding process. They did overpay these players, but they had to to acquire them. They are not a playoff team yet, but they could be in a couple seasons.