The Florida Panthers will open their 2021-22 season in two months and rarely have expectations been this high in South Florida. With the Panthers signing future Hall of Famer Joe Thornton on Friday, what will their lineup look like come Oct. 14 when the Pittsburgh Penguins come to town?
There are not many questions as to who will play within the top six — although that will become much clearer when training camp starts next month.
But there are a few.
Will Sam Reinhart play center or on the right side? Is Anthony Duclair on the top line, the second or third? Where does up-and-coming forward Owen Tippett slot in?
When it comes to the overall structure of the roster, there are not many spots remaining.
It already looked like there was going to be a real battle for positioning before Thornton signed on with a one-year, league-minimum contract.
For the purpose of this exercise, we’re going with the current roster.
General manager Bill Zito may have a trade or two coming to clear up some space and, based on what the Panthers did during camp last season, they will have their eye on the waiver wire as well.
FLORIDA PANTHERS FORWARDS
The Panthers are likely going to carry 14 forwards on the 23-man roster so looking at who is currently signed, there is not much room.
Who gets those final two spots?