The Florida Panthers are having a rough go at it this season. After reaching the playoffs for the first time in a decade last year, and overachieving for almost the entire year, most expected some sort of regression.
But not to this degree. They currently sit at the bottom of the Eastern Conference, with just 20 points on the year. But as bad as they’ve been this year, it’s not entirely their fault.
The fact that they’ve been so terrible isn’t completely their fault, though. This is a team that has been completely ravaged by injury. The key players they had in place, or brought in last season, haven’t been in the lineup enough to make any sort of impact. And the injury list keeps growing.
Just six players on the roster have appeared in every game this season. Only one of them (Brian Campbell) is a defenseman. The Panthers have used 29 players this year in total, and that’s just skaters. Franchise mainstay Stephen Weiss is out for the year, as is Kris Versteeg.
Add that to the fact that Ed Jovanovski has appeared in just eight games and Scottie Upshall has played in just six, and you have a pretty good demonstration of why this team has been so bad. That’s a lot of salary sitting injured up in the press box.
Goaltending has been another issue for this team, as far as health goes. Starting goaltender Jose Theodore, who actually had a pretty solid year last year, has only managed to start in 14 games this season. Which has left a ton of time for backup Scott Clemmensen and the inexperienced Jacob Markstrom.
The Panthers have young talent in place, and some solid veterans on this team. There is a lot to like about this team in the future. But injuries have ravaged this team and made this year a complete and total disaster for the Cats.