After a two season hiatus from the NHL spent in the minors trying to break into the Chicago Blackhawks‘ roster, a trade that sent defenseman Dylan Olsen to the Florida Panthers has looked like it was exactly what he needed.
Last night Olsen’s skating and physical play against Alexander Ovechkin was vital in giving Florida the 3-2 shootout win over the Washington Capitals. Ovechkin failed to record a point and only got off two shots in almost 25 minutes on the ice. Last night wasn’t the only example of Olsen’s emerging prowess as a top defenseman for the Panthers; it’s become a regularity for Olsen and Florida.
Olsen is now on a five-game point streak and has recorded a point in six of the nine games he has played since being shipped south. The seven points in nine games have been the result of three goals and four assists, both of which lead Panthers defensemen in that stretch. Olsen’s production has been in part because of his ability to stay on the ice.
In the nine games, he has been penalized only once causing him to spend only two minutes in the box. This has been a large part of what has helped him average 27 shifts, 17 minutes on the ice and two shots on goal per game so far with the Panthers. Staying healthy and productive should lead to plenty more opportunities for Olsen, which is good news for Florida.
Since acquiring Olsen the Panthers are 5-4-0, and during Olsen’s point streak the Panthers are 4-1-0. The 11 goals surrendered in the past five games are the fewest over any five game stretch so far this season for Florida. The Panthers now sit just five points behind the Ottawa Senators for sixth place in the Atlantic division and eights points behind the Toronto Maple Leafs in the Eastern Conference wild card race.
With 39 games to play left in this season, a playoff spot will be difficult for Florida to nab but not impossible. If the Panthers can continue to grab two points in four out of every five, thanks to the play of Olsen, postseason play in Sunrise may yet be a possibility.