We all know that a team coached by Jacques Martin is defensively responsible. It’s no dream vacation owning players on defensive-minded teams, unless it’s a goaltender.
Jacques the GM has done a great job of signing key guys on this team to long term contracts. Olli Jokinen, Ruslan Salei and Mike Van Ryn are signed through the 2009-10 season. Tomas Vokoun is signed through 2010-11, Bryan Allen through 2011-12 and Horton and Weiss are under contract through 2012-13. Two important pieces of the future become Restricted Free Agents at the end of this year; Bouwmeester and Olesz. Look for Florida to sign one or both before the offer sheet season begins.
Q1. While Chicago has scored an incredible 11 short-handed goals, Florida is one of only two teams yet to score one this season. Who is the other one? Hint: They are a top three NHL team in goals scored.
Q2. There is only one team that hasn’t had a short-handed goal scored on them yet this year. Who are they? Hint: It’s not Florida, but they are a top Eastern Conference team.
Prior to Thursday night’s games, the Panthers are 25th in goals scored per game. They average 29.6 shots per game (11th), but give up a league worst (tied with the Flyers) average of 32.7 shots against per game. Give credit to their goaltending because they are 12th in goals against average.
Florida sports the fifth ranked power play in the NHL at 21 per cent. Of their 34 games, 56 per cent have been one goal games (19). They are getting timely contributions from many different players. Let’s take a quick look at some key fantasy players, excluding multi-category fantasy stud Olli Jokinen:
Many of you are disappointed with Nathan Horton this season. He is on pace for 19 goals, 53 points and 104 penalty minutes. The 22-year-old is only one goal and two points behind where he was last year after 34 games. He’ll be in the 60-65 point range at the end of the season.
Let’s face it; Jay Bouwmeester is more valuable in real life than on your fantasy squad. He averages over 27 minutes a game, behind only Pronger, Lidstrom, Beauchemin and Phaneuf. Only the surprising Paul Ranger averages more even strength ice time (20:00) than Bouwmeester (19:30). With Cory Murphy injured, Bouwmeester’s getting about the same number of minutes on the power play as last season and is only four points off last year’s pace. Look for the increased second half scoring trend to continue. Grab him now.
Q3. Only three teams haven’t been shutout yet this season. Florida is one. Who are the other two? Hint: They are both original six franchises.