The Florida Panthers continue to strengthen their lineup during this NHL free agency period. On Thursday the organization resigned defencemen Dmitrv Kulikov to a three year deal worth approximately $13m.
Kulikov tallied 19 points for the Panthers last season and aims to build on that total this season. This is an excellent signing for the Panthers. Having already secured Eric Gudbranson and veteran defencemen Willie Mitchell to contracts, this team is building a very strong, balanced defense.
I believe Kulikov or Gudbranson will be paired with Mitchell this season. The 23 year old Kulikov will look to use his speed and aggressive style of play to score goals. This kid has already proven he can score and has loads of potential. I believe that both Kulikov and Gudbranson will have stellar seasons for the Panthers this year. Both of them will be eager to step up and prove their worth to the team.
The Florida Panthers have done a wonderful job bringing in players and resigning others this past month. The team has seen the addition of Dave Bolland, Jussi Jokinen and Al Montoya. All these additions will provide the Florida Panthers with plenty of depth. Jussi Jokinen is coming out of a very successful season with the Pittsburgh Penguins. In 81 games, the Finnish forward tallied an impressive total of 57 points. If he can tally similar numbers for the Panthers, this team will be able to climb up the Eastern Conference standings quite easily this season.
Strong group of players
The team has built a solid group of core players over the last couple of years. Now it’s up to rookie Jonathan Huberdeau to lead the charge and carry this team. He struggled to find his rhythm throughout most of last season. He ended with a total of 28 points for the Panthers along with 37 penalty minutes.
I believe with the additions that this team has brought in, this team could surprise the hockey world this season. It will be interesting to see what happens to veteran defencemen Brian Campbell as a result of the Mitchell signing as well.
Also, I can’t wait to see how goalie Roberto Luongo will do in his first full season with Florida this year. If he is able to bounce back from his last couple of disappointing seasons with Vancouver, there is no telling where this team could end up next year.
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