One year ago today, I joined Florida Hockey Now and penned my first article: Florida Panthers Preseason Award Predictions.
A trip around the sun later, it is time to take a spin at those again.
With the start of the season 11 days away, there are a whole lot of storylines to follow and some new faces at the top.
Will newcomer Matthew Tkachuk lead the Panthers in goals?
Who will be the most impactful rookie this season?
Will Spencer Knight eclipse Sergei Bobrovsky as the Panthers’ No. 1 goalie?
I try to predict which Panthers player would best qualify for each NHL Award here:
Norris Trophy (Top Defenseman): Aaron Ekblad
Aaron Ekblad has been one of the best defensemen in the NHL and that will not change this season.
Since the start of the 2020-21 season, Ekblad ranks fifth in goals (26) and 16th in points (79) among NHL defensemen in 96 games — all while missing 42 games during that time due to a pair of injuries.
Despite missing the last 20 games of the season, he had 42 points in 61 games and finished sixth in Norris Trophy voting.