Ramblings: Impact in Florida, as well as thoughts on Arvidsson, Rieder, Stolarz and more
A team that adds Keith Yandle, Michael Matheson, Jason Demers and adds a savvy ‘sleeper’ signing like Jonathan Marchessault should be improving on their record and not regressing. Even if two key players are lost for an extended time. The Panthers acted quickly though, firing Head Coach Gerard Gallant late Sunday night. GM Tom Rowe is the (hopefully short-term) replacement. This is a young team that should boast several players with more than 60 points. Instead, so far it’s looking like Marchessault would barely get there, while the rest of them don’t even reach 50. At the very a least a new coach should light a fire under the likes of Aleksander Barkov, Vincent Trocheck, etc.
One thing to watch out for when it comes to a coaching change is the players who have yet to cement their reputation in the NHL. Coaches have their favorites, so if the new guy doesn’t like Marchessault or believes he’ll be a better player if he plays with Shawn Thornton and Kyle Rau, well then he’s in trouble. And what if Rowe thinks that Jaromir Jagr is too slow to be playing with Barkov now? Or Denis Malgin deserves more ice time at another level? Or the power play should be four forwards and one D, so Yandle is on the first unit, Aaron Ekblad is on the second – so Matheson loses out? These are the players I would be crossing my fingers about, if I owned them.
It’s difficult to nail down Rowe’s coaching style. He is a former player who played for the London Knights in the OHL and the Capitals and Whalers in the NHL (and a stint with Detroit). He was a tough power forward who once scored 31 goals and another time tallied 190 penalty minutes. Does that mean a tougher brand of hockey? No tougher than Gallant! As a coach, he was at the helm for Lowell of the AHL during the first lockout when Eric Staal led the team. But with Florida’s farm team the last couple of years, he coached a lower scoring team to rather low offensive numbers – 59 points led the squad in 2014-15 (Bobby Butler), followed by four 40-point players and three 30-point players. Not too impressive. So I’m not really expecting a sudden offensive surge.
This team is going downhill fast, ever since they pushed Dale Tallon aside. I mean…Tom Rowe? How did he ever get the GM job? His business acumen?
The Panthers blew a 2-0 lead during a four-minute brain fart in the second period in which they gave up three goals. And apparently that was the last straw.
Apparently the coach and GM didn’t see eye-to-eye. Was it in the way that Galla