It’s well-documented that the Florida Panthers have done virtually nothing to improve their roster over the course of the summer. They added draft picks and a couple of depth pickups that likely won’t play above the fourth line, but nothing of any sort of significance for a team that finished at or near the bottom of the league in every statistical category last season.
Which means that general manager Dale Tallon was banking on the team returning to a more positive health status, after a season in which injuries absolutely decimated this team. Of course, not improving your team because a healthy roster can bounce back is all well and good, when the roster in question is actually healthy. Which the Panthers are not.
The Panthers will head into training camp with at least five players important to the success of their team not at 100 percent. Of those players, a few of them may not even be ready to start the regular season on time. This certainly doesn’t bode well for a team that was hoping to bounce back.
At least two veterans likely won’t be ready to start the season on time. Ed Jovanovski appeared in only six games last year, coming back briefly before hip surgery brought his season to an end. Likewise, Kris Versteeg saw surgery end his season, as a knee injury took its toll. Neither will likely be ready to go when the season starts.
On a somewhat positive note, the others that will be limited, at least early in camp, should be ready to go by the time the regular season does get underway. That’s a list of players that includes a guy like Sean Bergenheim, who missed all of last season after suffering an injury during the lockout, though he’s not guarantee to start the season on time.
Though they aren’t likely to miss time to start the year, Dmitry Kulikov and Drew Shore likely will be limited early on in training camp, having undergone surgery for their own respective injuries when the season came to an end. Though none of these injuries are anything significant at this point, the fact that this team still is not healthy has to be a cause for concern for the front office and the fanbase heading into the 2013-14 season.