Joel Quenneville isn't ready to compare the core of players he is coaching with the Florida Panthers to the one he inherited 11 years ago when he took over as coach of the Chicago Blackhawks.
Quenneville, who joined Dan Rosen and Jim Cerny on this week's episode of NHL @TheRink, said he sees the potential in the Panthers' group led by Aleksander Barkov, Jonathan Huberdeau and Aaron Ekblad, but the three-time Stanley Cup winning coach in Chicago also said he needs to see a lot more from his players before he can mention them in the same breath as the Blackhawks championship contingent that featured Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook.
"I think we still have a lot to prove," Quenneville said. "We've got a long way to go to be proven correct in that regard. [Barkov] has a ton of talent. [Ekblad] on the back end has had a nice start to the season. Does a lot of good things, big and defends well, and offensively adds a lot to our team. [Huberdeau] is getting red-hot right now. Great playmaker, play-recognizer, patience with the puck.
"Those guys in Chicago might have done it earlier in their career where they had a lot of success, but this group has to prove it. That's the test and that's what the challenge is. We have to find a way to get to that next level to where you can say you're a proven winner. We have a long way to go."
In addition to Quenneville, TSN and NHL Network analyst Mike Johnson joined the podcast. Johnson, a former NHL player, went around the League with Rosen and Cerny to discuss the New York Islanders' winning ways, Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl's place among the best players in the NHL, the Vancouver Canucks' somewhat surprising success this season, veteran players getting scratched, and young players trying trick shots like the lacrosse-style goal scored last week by Carolina Hurricanes forward Sebastian Aho.
"How can anyone not like it?" Johnson said. "How old-school do you have to be like, 'That's no good. … What are we talking about here, of course we like it, except if you're the goalies, I guess."
Rosen, the NHL.com senior writer, and Cerny, the website's senior day editor, also spoke in detail about why they'd pick Barry Trotz of the Islanders to be their coach if they were starting a new team. They also discussed the Washington Capitals' success and what could potentially derail them, the New York Rangers' goalie situation and Los Angeles Kings defenseman Drew Doughty's comments to the Toronto media about the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The podcast is free and listeners can subscribe on all podcast platforms. It is also available on NHL.com/multimedia/podcasts and the NHL app.