For the last 16 years (12 with The Hockey News) Dobber has reviewed each team from a fantasy-hockey standpoint and graded them.
The 17th annual review will appear here on DobberHockey throughout the summer. This is not a review of the likely performance on the ice or in the standings, but in the realm of fantasy hockey.
Impact of changes – Another Jack Adams candidate is Joel Quenneville. Not only is he a pretty good coach, but even a terrible coach on Florida would be an Adams candidate. You see, this team has a great core of skaters already, and all of them are on the upswing in terms of career track. And they disappointed last year when they missed the playoffs, because their better than that. So this team was already going to take that next step. But then they added a guy named Sergei Bobrovksy, a two-time Vezina winner, to address their biggest weakness: in net. They also added a fading but still very serviceable defensive defenseman in Stralman, shored up the third line with Connolly, and added a real good checker in Acciari. The Panthers already had the skill, and now they have the size, defense and goaltending.
Ready for full-time – With the understanding that forward Henrik Borgstrom is already on the team as a third-line center, and Samuel Montembeault is there as the backup, the Panthers have several prospects ready to make the jump.
Jayce Hawryluk really came into his own last year, going from 36 points in 64 games to 32 points in 31 games for Springfield of the AHL. He was called up midseason and earned his place as a regular. Despite the offseason additions, he ‘should’ be able to hold onto his roster spot. He is a hardworking winger with upside, and there is an agitating side to his game. This year he may fall short of 30 points and 50 PIM but down the road he could be a 55-point, 90-PIM player, depending on how well he develops.
Owen Tippett is probably going to make this team. I have him at 75% confidence in the Fantasy Guide (I assign a confidence percentage for all of the prospects close to making the team, and adjust through training camp – just another benefit that this Guide offers). But it’s by no means certain. Florida is a deep team now and he will probably need to beat out Hawryluk or a veteran depth guy such as Colton Sceviour. But at the very least he should get into a few games this year. He is a sniper who already has NHL size and strength, and the Panthers having someone like that on the third or fourth line for this year would really benefit.
Josh Brown is an enforcer on the blue line who fought his way into the lineup for the second half last year. He endeared himself to Boughner, can he do the same with Quenneville? If so, he is dynamite for Hits and PIM.
Kevin Roy was a solid prospect for Anaheim and he enjoyed an impressive college career (150 points in 130 games). The diminutive winger enjoyed a strong AHL season in 2017-18 and ended that year in Anaheim for 25 games. It looked as though he would make that team last year, but then he suffered an upper-body injury in September that wiped out most of his season. This summer he became an unrestricted free agent and Florida signed him. He is on a two-way contract, but he needs to clear waivers in order to be sent down. This is his last real chance at the NHL, now that he’s 26, so look for him to battle hard.
Florida Panthers prospect depth chart and fantasy upsides can be found here (not yet ready for mobile viewing, desktop only right now)
Fantasy Outlook – Three-plus lines of scoring, led by one of the best top lines in hockey with Jonathan Huberdeau, Aleksander Barkov and Evgenii Dadonov. On defense, between Aaron Ekblad, Keith Yandle and Mike Matheson, the Panthers have an enviable top three and Stralman only adds to that. Goaltending is set with Bobrovsky for awhile. All that is fantastic, without even looking at the prospects. But there are some real nice ones on the way besides Tippett. Aleksi Heponiemi and Grigori Denisenko are two of the top prospects in hockey and are probably only a year or two away. Serron Noel also looks like a good one for further down the road. This team is very solid right now and with this young core it will be solid for a couple more years. And with those prospects, things could continue for even longer. I tried very hard to acquire Florida Panthers in my league all summer long but came up empty.
Fantasy Grade: A+ (last year was B)
Pick up the 14th annual DobberHockey Fantasy Hockey Guide
2019 Offseason Fantasy Hockey Grades
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