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Future Is Bright For The Florida Panthers

from Dave Hyde of the South Florida Sun-Sentnel,

It was a good series, a fun series — a season in a series, really. Game 1′s thriller was a reason to fall in love with hockey. Down 2-0, if the Panthers continued quickly out the door they’d have squandered all the good edge and positive energy of their regular season.

Even pulling to within 2-1, there were lingering questions about what it all meant. Goalie Sergei Bobrovsky was benched, then returned — and then was benched again in Game 4. He’s never played like the goalie with the NHL’s richest contract.

That money looked to weigh down the offseason, and maybe the next season or two, with five years left on a $70 million deal.

And then Game 5 happened.

Rookie Spencer Knight’s performance didn’t just make Bobrovsky’s story a secondary concern — one more for General Manager Bill Zito to solve this offseason than anything else. If possible. If someone wants to take that contract.

As it is, Knight became the future of the franchise. It seems crazy to anoint him that after he’s only played six NHL games. But sometimes you know. Dolphins coach Jimmy Johnson needed two weeks of summer practice to make a fifth-round pick in Zach Thomas his middle linebacker and cut the veteran Jack Del Rio. Jack McKeon took one September of Miguel Cabrera and said, “He’s in the lineup for as long as I’m here.”

Knight looks to be that guy.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Florida Panthers, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Comments

TreKronor's avatar

And on top of it, they seem to have another very capable goaltender in their system in Devon Levi.

Giving that contract to Bob was a horrible idea and he didn’t deserve it.  Everyone knew it, but that was the going rate to get him.  But now that you’ve got not just one but two kids in your future who are already quite possibly better goalies, the Bobrovsky contract is now worse than horrible.

Posted by TreKronor on 05/27/21 at 09:36 AM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

And on top of it, they seem to have another very capable goaltender in their system in Devon Levi.

And they’re going to have to let Driedger walk. He wasn’t very good in the playoffs but he had solid, even impressive, numbers in the last two regular seasons. So, yeah, that Bobrovsky contract may well be the worst one in the league right now.

As it is, Knight became the future of the franchise.

He’s been the “real deal” everywhere he’s played. I love Seider, but he’s going t have to be the next coming of Vladdie to justify taking him over Knight in 2019.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 05/27/21 at 10:58 AM ET

Avatar

They benched Bob and had Driedger as the backup, too,
in spite of the latter not being very good and being the UFA.

Something’s gotta give there.
I doubt Bob wants to be a 10 million backup for the next few years
and I doubt Florida wants to pay him for that either.

If keeping Bob isn’t tenable and Driedger is going to UFA who other than Knight
is in the net for Florida next season?

This is the tough thing with goalies in the first round.
Occasionally you get a top-notch starter for a decade or more.
And because picking goalies are a risk they can usually be had for a pick
outside the top ten. It’s going to be interesting to see what happens with Askarov
in.Nashville.

Posted by lefty.30 on 05/27/21 at 02:11 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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