The Florida Panthers had a number of players take a big step forward last season but few with the impact of versatile forward Eetu Luostarinen.
If anyone doubted how much Luostarinen meant to the Panthers last season figured it out pretty quickly when he suddenly was not available in the playoffs.
A blocked shot in the second period of Game 4 against the Carolina Hurricanes ended up ending Luostarinen’s season; he was unavailable for the Stanley Cup Final and his absence was most certainly felt.
Although the Panthers did not lose to the Vegas Golden Knights because Luostarinen could not play — that certainly did not help things.
Throughout the season, Luostarinen had become Paul Maurice’s go-to when it came to fixing lines which were not working or to replace players who were hurt or not producing.
Wherever Luostarinen went, things seemingly got better.
Without him, the Panthers struggled.
Who would have thought that Luostarinen would become the biggest return in the 2020 Vincent Trocheck trade?