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The Florida Panthers hired Bill Zito a year ago. They’re contenders now



Zito panthers florida bill
Florida Panthers president Matt Caldwell presents new general manager Bill Zito with his own team sweater at a virtual press conference on Sept. 2, 2020. // Photo courtesy @FlaPanthers

It has now been a year since Bill Zito was hired as the 11th general manager in Florida Panthers history.

What a busy 12 months it has been for the Panthers.

Last year turned out to be one of the most successful regular seasons in franchise history as the Panthers — thanks in great part to players brought in by the team’s new GM — were just two points away from winning a divisional title.

For his efforts, Zito was named a finalist for NHL General Manager of the Year although that went to Lou Lamoriello of the New York Islanders.

Still, it is hard to overlook the work Zito did last year and what he is doing now.

The Panthers look like a completely different team.

And, if you go by Vegas betting standards, Florida is a Stanley Cup contender.

Very few people would have said that a year ago today.

Zito, however, saw some promise in the Panthers.

He sold his vision on the team in numerous interviews with team management and ownership before being hired.

“When we came here, there were some pretty good players,’’ Zito said before the playoffs started.

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