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Team Reset

Panthers have different look after step back

Changes at forward, coach following disappointing season

by Jon Lane @JonLaneNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

After the NHL Draft, free agency and other offseason moves, NHL.com is taking a look at where each team stands. Today, the Florida Panthers:

The Florida Panthers promised changes after finishing 35-36-11 last season, 14 points out of the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference after winning the Atlantic Division in 2015-16.

The Panthers decided to not re-sign unrestricted free agent forward Jaromir Jagr, who at 45 had 46 points (16 goals, 30 assists) in 82 games. He is second all-time in NHL scoring with 1,914 points (765 goals, 1,149 assists) and was voted one of the 100 Greatest NHL Players presented by Molson Canadian last season.

 

[RELATED: Complete Team Reset coverage]

 

Also gone are forwards Jonathan Marchessault, Reilly Smith and Jussi Jokinen. Among the newcomers are veteran forwards Radim Vrbata and Evgeny Dadonov, and a collection of prospects who will compete for open positions under new coach Bob Boughner.

Boughner, 46, was hired on June 12 to replace Tom Rowe, who was reassigned on April 10. Boughner enters his first job as coach in the NHL after spending two seasons as an assistant with the Sharks. He also won the Memorial Cup as coach of Windsor of the Ontario Hockey League in 2009 and 2010.

Here is what the Panthers look like today:

 

Key arrivals

Radim Vrbata, F: Agreed to terms on a one-year contract reportedly worth $2.5 million with $1.5 million in performance-based bonuses on July 1. At 36, Vrbata led the Arizona Coyotes in goals (20), assists (35) and points (55). He's scored at least 20 goals in three of the past four seasons. … Evgeny Dadonov, F: Dadonov, who played 55 games for the Panthers from 2009-12, agreed to a three-year contract. He had a career-high 66 points (30 goals, 36 assists) for SKA St. Petersburg in the Kontinental Hockey League. … Henrik Haapala, F: Signed a two-year contract June 1 after leading Finland's Liiga with 45 assists and 60 points. … Micheal Haley, F: Signed to a two-year contract on July 1, Haley had 12 points (two goals, 10 assists) in an NHL career-high 58 games with the San Jose Sharks last season.

Video: F Vrbata signs 1-year contract with Panthers

 

Key departures

Jaromir Jagr, F: Jagr continued to produce despite limited playing time (23 games) with usual linemates Aleksander Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau, who each missed time because of injury. The three combined for 75 goals and 184 points in 2015-16, when the Panthers won 47 games and had 103 points. … Jonathan Marchessault, C: Selected by the Vegas Golden Knights in the NHL Expansion Draft, Marchessault's 30 goals led the Panthers last season. … Jussi Jokinen, F: Bought out on July 1 with one year and $4 million remaining on his contract, Jokinen signed a one-year contract with the Edmonton Oilers on July 7. He had 28 points (11 goals, 17 assists) last season after he had 60 (18 goals, 42 assists) in 2015-16. … Reilly Smith, F: Traded to the Golden Knights for a fourth-round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft on June 21, Smith had 37 points (15 goals, 22 assists) last season. … Thomas Vanek, F: The 33-year-old had 10 points (two goals, eight assists) in 20 games for the Panthers after being traded from the Detroit Red Wings on March 1. Vanek is an unrestricted free agent.

 

On the cusp

Owen Tippett, F: The No. 10 pick in the 2017 NHL Draft, Tippett, 18, is expected to get a long look after he had 75 points (44 goals, 31 assists) for Mississauga of the OHL. … Henrik Borgstrom, C: A first-round pick (No. 23) in 2016, Borgstrom, 19, led NCAA freshmen in goals (22), and finished third in points (43) to help the University of Denver win the national championship. … Maxim Mamin, F: The Panthers' sixth-round pick (No. 175) in 2016 signed a two-year contract June 1 after he had 25 points (12 goals, 13 assists) for CSKA Moscow of the KHL. The 22-year-old could be in the bottom-six forward group to start the season. … Jayce Hawryluk, C: The 32nd pick in 2014, Hawryluk, 21, had 26 points (nine goals, 17 assists) with Springfield during his first season in the American Hockey League. … Ian McCoshen, D: The 21-year-old completed his first pro season with 16 points (four goals, 12 assists) and was plus-23 for Springfield before playing three games with the Panthers (one assist). McCoshen was a second-round pick (No. 31) in 2013.

 

What they still need

To replace production up front. Jagr, Jokinen, Marchessault and Smith scored 72 of Florida's 205 goals last season. … For goalie Roberto Luongo, 38, to stay healthy after a lower-body injury last season forced him to miss the final 19 games. The Panthers lost 207 man-games to injury in 2016-17, a figure that included significant stretches for Luongo, Barkov, Huberdeau, forward Nick Bjugstad and defenseman Aaron Ekblad.

Video: NYR@FLA: Ekblad wrists home PPG to cut into deficit

 

Pete Jensen's fantasy focus

The Panthers will have a different right wing on their top line after they chose to not re-sign Jagr. They will look to Dadonov, who returns to the NHL after five seasons in the KHL, and/or Vrbata to take Jagr's place at even strength and on the power play. The fantasy potential of Florida's top line still hinges on the health of Barkov and Huberdeau, but Dadonov (No. 144 in NHL.com's fantasy rankings) and Vrbata (No. 214) each would be on a path to the top 100 if he sticks on that unit.

Video: BUF@FLA: Huberdeau finishes PPG from inside the net

 

Projected lineup

Jonathan Huberdeau -- Aleksander Barkov -- Evgeni Dadonov

Henrik Haapala -- Vincent Trocheck -- Radim Vrbata

Maxim Mamin -- Nick Bjugstad -- Denis Malgin

Micheal Haley -- Derek MacKenzie -- Colton Sceviour

Michael Matheson -- Aaron Ekblad

Keith Yandle -- Jason Demers

Mark Pysyk -- Alex Petrovic

Roberto Luongo

James Reimer

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