Week after week, Florida Panthers general manager Dale Tallon denied that his team would sell off center Stephen Weiss (and his expiring contract) and other assets before the trade deadline.
Then Weiss suffered a season-ending wrist injury, the Panthers continued struggling and reality set in for the franchise. This season was just not to be.
As the South Florida Sun-Sentinel notes, the Panthers have lost 95 man games to injuries. Those casualties included three key defensemen, four of their top forwards and their starting goaltender. As a result, five players have played their first NHL game this season and the team has run a constant shuttle to the American Hockey League.
Defensemen Brian Campbell (minus-14) and Filip Kuba (minus-13) have played disastrously at even strength. Florida has the NHL’s worst penalty-killing unit. The team has lost six times in overtime, most in the league.
Injuries eradicated last season’s top line of Weiss flanked by Kris Versteeg and Tomas Fleischmann. This team’s tale of woe goes on and on.
So Tallon needs to hit the reset button. The Ottawa Sun reported that the list of untouchable Panthers is short: Center Jonathan Huberdeau, defenseman Erik Gudbranson, goalie Jakob Markstrom and forward Drew Shore.
Those cornerstone players aren’t going anywhere. Everybody else on the roster can be had for the right offer.