Panthers' GM Dave Tallon has done nothing short of a massive overhaul to his roster, arguably bigger than the Philadelphia Flyers'. Countless names were shipped out and just as many new faces arrived. With an overwhelming amount of new talent available, there are quite a few question marks surrounding the players, their potential performance, the line combinations, and of course the overall competitiveness of the team. Here's a quick look at some of the players in Florida this year.
Tomas Fleischmann –Flash is back and healthy, scoring four points in three preseason games. It was evident that last year Fleischmann was much more comfortable on the wing (in Colorado) than at center (in Washington), and left wing is where he will start the upcoming season. In all three games, Fleischmann took only three faceoff draws, winning one. He also rattled off an impressive 14 shots, translating to a 383-shot pace over an 82-game season. There's no chance he shoots that much in the regular season, but sure is a great sign for a guy with a career high of 131 shots on goal. Most of his shifts were with Kris Versteeg, and their most common center was Stephen Weiss. Expect Fleischmann to be Florida's number-one left wing to start the season.
Mike Santorelli – Behind Stephen Weiss, Santorelli is Florida's next best center. Although Santorelli scored only one goal in the preseason, he won the second-line job last year off of two goals in five games, so that's nothing to be concerned about. Mike did stand out in one category and that was faceoffs. Last year Santorelli took the most draws (68) of any Panther in the preseason, winning 51.5%, contrasted with this preseason, where he took the third most (39), winning 64.1%. Unfortunately for Santorelli, he suffered a shoulder injury and will miss the beginning of the season. It doesn't sound too serious though, as head coach Dineen expects him back before the end of the month.
Marcel Goc – Surprisingly, Goc took the most faceoffs (55) this preseason for the Panthers, winning an impressive 54.5%. Goc played in four games, only registering one assist, five shots on goal, and a minus-two rating and that was even with the benefit of skating mostly with Fleischmann and Versteeg on the top line. With Santorelli's injury, there will be some temporary availability at center, but the team is also using Kopecky and Matthias at center as well. Goc should be a third- or even fourth-line player at this point and won't carry much fantasy value.
Tomas Kopecky – Kopecky skated in only two preseason games, but took 26 faceoffs in the preseason, winning 12. Tomas also scored three points in those two games, with four shots on goal and a plus-three rating, something that was very rare in the Florida locker room (most had a minus rating). Although Kopecky is a LW/RW in Yahoo, it's looking as though he'll start the year as the number-two center in Florida, with Booth and Upshall on his wings. Kopecky is one of those guys who has increased his point totals every year he's been in the league and could look to pull his best Andrew-Ladd-breakout impression in 2011-12.