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30 in 30: Panthers Lineup Relies On Young Players

Sunday, 08.18.2013 / 1:05 PM ET / Features
By Mike Battaglino  - NHL.com Staff Writer
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30 in 30: Panthers Lineup Relies On Young Players

A year after a surprising division title, a mixture of injuries and regression left the Florida Panthers with the worst record in the NHL.

The Panthers did not make any seismic moves in attempt to yo-yo back into Stanley Cup Playoff contention, but another elite prospect, Aleksander Barkov, joins a stable of precocious talents, and general manager Dale Tallon will let the development of those players dictate how much the team can improve in 2013-14.

Stephen Weiss, the team's No. 1 center for the past five seasons, went to the Detroit Red Wings on a five-year contract, but Barkov, the No. 2 pick in the 2013 NHL Draft, is expected to center one of the top two lines immediately. The Panthers did add a couple of potential role players up front, Scott Gomez and Joey Crabb.

A healthy roster will certainly help the Panthers be a little better this season. How well young players Barkov, Jonathan Huberdeau, Erik Gudbranson and Jacob Markstrom play will determine if it is a large improvement.

Here is the projected 2013-14 lineup for the Panthers:

2013-14 FANTASY PREVIEW: PANTHERS



Under-valued: Tomas Fleischmann -- In two seasons with the Panthers, Fleischmann has yet to miss a game and has been extremely consistent, averaging 0.74 points-per-game and 0.73 points-per-game, respectively. The forward's plus/minus won't impress, but playing alongside Jonathan Huberdeau could allow Fleischmann to put together the best season of his career.

Over-valued: Shawn Matthias -- In a span of 16 games during March last year, Matthias scored 11 goals, but in his other 32 games, he had  three. The 14 goals were a career high (even with the shortened season), but as a third-line forward on a struggling team, Matthias should be avoided in fantasy drafts.

Sleeper: Aleksander Barkov -- Barkov likely will be the reason Matthias is on the third line; the Finn could step in as Florida's second-line center. The soon-to-be 18-year-old is big (6-foot-3, 209 pounds) and has loads of potential on a team that should be willing to give him plenty of ice time.

-- Follow Matt Cubeta on Twitter: @NHLQubes

Forwards

Jonathan Huberdeau - Nick Bjugstad - Kris Versteeg

Tomas Fleischmann - Aleksander Barkov - Drew Shore

Shawn Matthias - Marcel Goc - Tomas Kopecky

Quinton Howden - Scott Gomez - Scottie Upshall

Joey Crabb

Defensemen

Brian Campbell - Erik Gudbranson

Dmitry Kulikov - Mike Weaver

Ed Jovanovski - Colby Robak

Matt Gilroy - Mike Mottau

Goalies

Jacob Markstrom

Scott Clemmensen

NOTES: Bjugstad and Barkov have a combined 11 games of NHL experience. It is possible Gomez or Goc ends up on one of the top two lines to start the season, but Bjugstad and Barkov should be there in short order. Shore could be the long-term No. 3 center but might make sense on the wing until some of the other young players arrive.

One name to watch in camp is Vincent Trochek, who lit up the Ontario Hockey League last season and could earn at least a nine-game look with the big club. If Bergenheim is ready to play, then the battle for the bottom-six forward slots could start to get crowded.

Robak isn't the only young player who could earn a spot on the blue line. Alex Petrovic is another defenseman who looks like a future fixture for the Panthers.

For all 30 in 30 stories go to NHL.com/30in30stories and for the full 30 in 30 schedule visit NHL.com/30in30.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 53 40 9 4 175 120 84
2 FLA 55 32 17 6 153 127 70
3 NYR 55 31 18 6 157 140 68
4 DET 55 28 18 9 138 134 65
5 NYI 53 29 18 6 150 131 64
6 TBL 54 30 20 4 144 130 64
7 BOS 54 29 19 6 159 148 64
8 PIT 54 28 19 7 139 136 63
9 NJD 55 27 21 7 122 123 61
10 CAR 55 24 21 10 131 143 58
11 MTL 56 27 25 4 151 151 58
12 PHI 53 24 20 9 127 138 57
13 OTT 56 25 25 6 157 173 56
14 BUF 56 22 28 6 131 155 50
15 CBJ 56 22 28 6 140 173 50
16 TOR 53 19 25 9 122 149 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Jagr 52 17 23 14 40
J. Huberdeau 55 11 29 12 40
J. Jokinen 55 11 27 12 38
V. Trocheck 55 17 18 3 35
A. Barkov 43 16 19 13 35
R. Smith 55 18 16 12 34
B. Pirri 51 11 13 -3 24
A. Ekblad 51 11 13 19 24
B. Campbell 55 5 18 20 23
N. Bjugstad 40 9 10 -3 19
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 24 13 5 .927 2.23
A. Montoya 8 4 1 .926 2.06

 
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