If you have stepped outside at any time over the past couple of weeks, well, we don’t have to tell you it ain’t hockey weather. Regardless, Sportsnet has published its first Power Rankings of the season and the Florida Panthers certainly are not ranked No. 2.
The Panthers, fresh off a magical run to the Stanley Cup Final, have undergone some changes and will be without at least a couple players due to injuries sustained during the postseason when the 2023-24 campaign kicks off in about three months.
That said, it is no surprise the Panthers are considered one of the league’s elite teams — at least, not right this second.
They may very well get there, but today, Florida appears to have some work to do.
And that’s OK.
Plenty of time before the games start up. Heck, we are six weeks from rookie camp starting.
Back to the Sportsnet rankings which definitely has a western vibe.
In fact, the top three teams in their summer power rankings are from the west with the Colorado Avalanche leading the charge followed by those defending Cup champion Golden Knights and the Edmonton Oilers.
The Toronto Maple Leafs, a team Florida made quick work of in the Eastern Conference semifinals, come in ranked No. 4 — the first of three Atlantic teams (Boston, Tampa Bay) within the Top 10.
Then we get to the Panthers.
Sportsnet has Florida ranked No. 11 in their power rankings and, while these kind of things are created just for conversation and mean nothing, that does not feel out of place.
Want to argue that the Panthers are better than a few teams above them — especially since they beat three of them in the Eastern Conference playoffs — go right ahead.
These are fun summertime conversations to have while we wait for Dolphins’ training camp to open and see if the Marlins can make it back to the postseason.
The Panthers should be fine this season — DraftKings has them with the 10th-best odds to win the Stanley Cup at +1600 which is sixth in the East and third in the Atlantic.
Although coach Paul Maurice sounded the alarm that his team may struggle to make the playoffs due to all the injuries, that could have just him getting a little emotional in the moment of losing in the Stanley Cup Final.
Will the Panthers win the Atlantic Division?
Who knows? Maybe?
They certainly could although that does not seem to be anyones priority.
If a number of things go right, the Panthers should be right in the mix and in the thick of the playoff hunt.
As the Eastern Conference champs showed us all, just make it in; Anything can happen once the postseason starts.
While the Panthers could be without the likes of Aaron Ekblad and Brandon Montour for a little bit of time when the season starts, GM Bill Zito has brought in plenty of defensive depth which will have a few weeks to try and gel before the games start counting for real.
What do you think about Florida being ranked No. 11?
Too low, too high or just right?
The comment section, as always, is open.
FLORIDA PANTHERS ON DECK
- Now: Free agency period is open
- Mid-September: Training Camp, South Florida
- Sept. 25: Preseason starts; Doubleheader v. Nashville @ Sunrise
- Oct. 7: Preseason ends; v. Tampa Bay Lightning @ Sunrise
- Oct. 12: Start of 2023-24 Regular Season at Minnesota Wild
- Oct. 19: 2023-24 Home Opener vs. Toronto Maple Leafs