The Florida Panthers lost the Stanley Cup Finals to the Vegas Golden Knights after an average regular season, and they return much of the same roster who will want to go one better this time around.
The Panthers have a few injury concerns to begin the season, but they brought in a few new faces to add depth to their talented roster.
If they can bring a bit of their playoff form into the regular season after sneaking into the playoffs by one point last year, they will have a much more comfortable season this time around.
|What||2023/24 NHL Season|
|Where||US & Canada|
|When||October 10, 2023 - June 2024|
|How to watch||ABC, ESPN, TNT & NHL Center Ice|
|Odds||TOR Maple Leafs +800, COL Avalanche +850, EDM Oilers +900, NJ Devils +1000, CAR Hurricanes +1000, VGS Golden Knights +1100|
The Florida Panthers squeaked into the playoff field, finishing one point above the Buffalo Sabres for fourth place in the Atlantic Division.
They got hot after making the playoffs, beating the Boston Bruins, Toronto Maple Leafs, and Carolina Hurricanes before losing to the Vegas Golden Knights in the Stanley Cup Finals.
The Panthers are in for more of the same in 2023/24 as they bring back their top 10 points scorers from 2022/23.
Top scorer Matthew Tkachuk returned for training camp after he suffered a chest injury in the Stanley Cup Finals that kept him out of Game 5, the final game of the series.
The additions of Rasmus Asplund, Mike Reilly, Steven Lorentz, Evan Rodrigues, and Niko Mikkola give them some extra depth. Anton Lundell, the team's 10th top scorer with 33 points, enters his age-22 season which makes him a prime candidate for further improvement.
The team's key players - notably top scorer Tkachuk and captain and second-top scorer Aleksander Barkov - are all in their prime years, meaning the Panthers should improve upon last year's regular season points total of 91.
Given their nine top scorers enter the season between ages 25 and 29, Florida will want to replicate and build on its relative playoff success last season.
The Florida Panthers have the 12th-shortest odds to lift the Stanley Cup at +1800.
Their over under for total regular season points is 98.5.
Barkov is the joint-second-favorite at +1000 to win the Selke Trophy for the forward with the most defensive skill.
Tkachuk has the joint-fourth-shortest odds at the Hart Trophy for the league's most valuable player at +1200. Barkov has much longer odds for the Hart at +10000.
Panthers' head coach Paul Maurice is in the middle of the pack at +2000 to win the Jack Adams Award for the NHL's best coach.
Brandon Montour is +5000 to win the Norris Trophy for the league's top defenseman.
Tkachuk is +1600 for the Rocket Richard Trophy which honors the league's top goalscorer, the joint-sixth-shortest odds.
Experienced goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky is +4000 to win the Vezina Trophy for the NHL's best netminder.
The Panthers' first Atlantic Division matchup comes four games into the season when they host the Toronto Maple Leafs on Oct. 19.
They travel to Massachusetts on Oct. 30 to face division opponents the Boston Bruins.
Their first game against division rivals the Ottawa Senators is on Nov. 27, five days after a game against the Bruins and one day before a game against the Maple Leafs.
Florida doesn't play Atlantic Division rivals the Buffalo Sabres until Feb. 15, 2024. The Sabres narrowly missed out on the playoffs last season as they finished a point below the Panthers.
Paul Maurice is the Florida Panthers head coach.
He is entering his second season at the helm after replacing Andrew Brunette - now coach of the Nashville Predators - before the 2022/23 season.
Maurice has a tough act to follow after guiding Florida to the Stanley Cup Finals in his first season, but he has plenty of experience under his belt to deal with fans' expectations.
Now 56, Maurice got his first NHL head coaching job before he turned 30 when he took the helm of the Hartford Whalers in 1995/96. He stayed with the franchise when they relocated ahead of 1997/98 and his tenure lasted until he was fired during the 2003/04 season after the 'Canes picked up 26 points in 30 games.
Rasmus Asplund (F) Nashville
Oliver Edman-Larsson (D) Vancouver
Niko Mikkola (D) New York Rangers
Mike Reilly (D) Boston
Evan Rodrigues (C) Colorado
Kevin Stenlund (C) Winnipeg
Anthony Stolarz (G) Anaheim
Alexander True (F) Seattle
Anthony Duclair (LW) San Jose
Radko Gudas (D) Anaheim
Patric Hornqvist (RW) Retired
Givani Smith (RW) San Jose
Eric Stall (C) Free agent
Marc Staal (D) Philadelphia