A couple of unexpected moves have completed the Panthers moves before the trade deadline. Well, unless something else comes up between now and then...
"My focus throughout this season has been to build as good of a system as I possibly could. I knew at the beginning of the year that it was going to be an extremely long season, but I figured that if I continually worked to try to improve my worst players on the farm teams, that we would have a solid foundation on which to add on to in the future.
I also wanted to get some good players in place on my pro team as well, especially heading into next season. I feel that we have a decent group of defensemen and a decent goalie. Our third and fourth lines are all very good cheap defensive minded players and that was very important to me because we should be able to shut teams down more than we have this year. Currently we're in the middle of the pack in goals against, but we've also played a lot of rookies this year and had injuries to some of our more significant players. If we add some offense and continue to get good defense, we should be in a position to make the playoffs next year, or at least be close. "
The Panthers current lineup next year
1st, 2nd lines Blank
Hall-Spaling-Winchester (expected cap hit for both lines ~ 7 mill)
Martin, Lewis, Boyce
"There are two areas in our prospect system that I am extremely pleased with, our defense and especially our goaltending. We have quite a large stockpile of good young defensemen, lead by Carl Gunnarsson, Andrew MacDonald, and Ryan McDonagh. Eventually, guys like Morris, Roszival and Sarich will be replaced full time as the younger players develop, but we are not in any rush with any of them. We are hoping that after the 2011-2012 season that we will have five or six young defenders in the NHL full time and playing in significant roles on their teams. That would be extremely helpful to cut down on costs for the 2012-2013 season and beyond.
The area that I hope yields the most successful players is our goaltending pool. We currently have two of the top AHL goalies in Dekanich and Hackett, the best goalie under the age of 30 in Denmark (Frederik Andersen), the Flyers best prospect (Joacim Eriksson), one of the WHL's top goalies (Tyler Bunz) as well as several other goalies that are doing fairly well. We are being quite realistic with the group and we know that we're likely only going to get one maybe two starters out of the lot at best, but I figure that goalies are the hardest area to get a really good one and if we get really lucky with these guys that we can always flip a couple later on. It never hurts to have a lot of good talent between the pipes."
The Panthers All Prospect Team
"Looking towards the draft, we're likely going to be picking in the top 3 and we are going to take a foward. I like Larsson a lot, but we already are full to the brim and then some with defensemen and goalies. While we do have some good forwards, you can never get enough and I look forward to adding to what we have there."
It might be a little bit backwards with not having any top 6 forwards, but pretty much everything else set up, but I didn't have any top 6 forwards before the draft last year either and got 5 of them in pretty short order, and the good thing this year is that I'll have the 18 million cap to actually fit them in easily. With the vast amount of picks for 2012, and the prospects I have, it should be relatively easy to get another crop of top 6ers to have a cohesive team next season and add to during the year. Just have to wait until things shake out.
Part of the fun of this is doing things in unorthodox ways and seeing how things work out. It wouldn't be fun doing things the normal way.