The NFL betting in the state of Florida will be hot and heavy as teams like the Miami Dolphins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers are expected to show signs of significant improvement in 2013. But the mood in Miami over the city’s hockey team is not quite as optimistic. The Panthers went from division champions in 2011-12 to the Southeast Division basement in 2012-13. The team had several areas that it wanted improve on as it enter the NHL draft and the free agency period.
The Florida Panthers have never been accused of not having plenty of prospects that the team can get excited about. The problem is that it is taking those prospects a few years to pan out and the main team is struggling in the meantime.
In the 2013 draft, the Panthers once again hit some pretty impressive home runs and added eight prospects to a roster that is already rich in talent. Among the most impressive picks were goaltender Evan Cowley with the 92nd pick and towering forward Aleksander Barkov with the team’s first round pick. Some within the Florida organization feel that Barkov could be a rookie starter.
The team also added size on defense when it drafted Ian McCoshen with the 31st overall pick. Florida had done some wheeling and dealing to have the plethora of picks that the team used on draft day. If you bet on sports, then you know that NHL draft picks take years to develop. But the Panthers are building a future that may be brighter than most people think.
Draft grade: B-
The Panthers did an average job in free agency in 2013. The team did manage to retain Shawn Matthias, but the team lost long-time center Stephen Weiss to Detroit. The team brought in Matt Gilroy from the Rangers and Jon Matsumoto from the San Jose Sharks. Florida also brought in winger Joey Crabb from division rival Washington.
But the Panthers did not make a big splash for a goalie that the team desperately needs or a scoring forward. While the team may be making strides to improve in the future, the present does not look so promising in South Beach.
Free agency grade: C
The Bottom Line:
The Florida Panthers made the playoffs two seasons ago primarily because the rest of the Southeast Division was so bad. When the Washington Capitals stepped up the following season, the Panthers crumbled. There are a lot of bright future stars in the Florida farm system that gives the fans a lot to look forward to in the years to come. But the 2013-14 season does not look to be nearly as promising as fans would like it to be.
Overall, the Florida Panthers will probably struggle to make the new playoff format in this coming season. But if the fans can just hang in there for two or three more years, then this Florida team should be something special to watch.
Rick Tildor is an avid sports blogger who can help you make money when you bet on sports from the comfort of your home. He is especially interested in NHL and NFL betting so be sure to check out Rick’s latest blogs before you place your bets. You’ll be glad you did.