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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 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Jagr 79 27 39 23 66
J. Jokinen 81 18 42 25 60
A. Barkov 66 28 31 18 59
J. Huberdeau 76 20 39 17 59
V. Trocheck 76 25 28 15 53
R. Smith 82 25 25 19 50
A. Ekblad 78 15 21 18 36
N. Bjugstad 67 15 19 -8 34
B. Campbell 82 6 25 31 31
B. Pirri 52 11 13 -4 24
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 35 19 6 .922 2.35
A. Montoya 12 7 3 .919 2.18

 
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