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Bolstering The Offense With Numbers

by Staff Writer / Florida Panthers
The Panthers hope to get offensive contributions from their new players, but one player that could help is getting another solid season from Mike Santorelli (13).

By Molly Coller, University of Miami

CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. – Bringing the crowd to their feet hasn’t always been easy for the Florida Panthers.

New management, new colors and new players hope to change that. General Manager Dale Tallon has added new talent to the Florida Panthers creating a promising team for this upcoming season.

“There a lot of new faces, lot of new energy following an outstanding Rookie Camp with some great young players,’’ said GM Dale Tallon. “I’m impressed with the work ethic, the fun and the size, it’s great to see, especially on the back end.

“It’s a good thing. We’re getting bigger, faster, stronger in all elements of the game, and depth at all positions.”

Offensively speaking the outlook is looking good for the upcoming season, as Winger Scottie Upshall, Forward Tomas Fleischman, and three-time 20-goal scorer right wing Kris Versteeg are just a couple of the exciting additions. Upshall and Fleischmann netted 20-goal seasons in years past and will undoubtedly add to the team’s success and ability to put the puck in the net.

“The movement this team was taking in the right direction to bring back winning ways in this organization is definitely comfortable,” said Upshall. “I think we won on July 1 and it’s going to continue right to the start of the season. We’re excited to play; I hope you guys are all excited to watch us because it’s a great feeling up here and we’re looking forward to the start of October.”

Budding star right winger Mike Santorelli who netted 20 goals in his first full season in the league, and younger players Evgeny Dadonov, Shawn Matthias, Michal Repik and Jack Skille continue to be contributors, proving their worth every time they step onto the ice.

“I think we have a lot of skilled players and guys that work hard,” said left winger David Booth, a three-time 20-goal scorer. “That will definitely be the identity of this team, guys who know how to get to the net and just score some goals.

“I think that’s where we have been lacking in the last two years, so bringing in guys who will put a few pucks in the net will definitely help.”

The Panthers have 10 new players, who combined have 47 playoff appearances. Hopefully the playoff experience added to the team and playing for coach Kevin Dineen, who is one of eight players in NHL history to amass at least 350 goals with 2,000 penalty minutes, will lead the Panthers to a championship game.

Young, doesn’t mean inexperienced and with strong leadership, a solid foundation and a plan for the future, the Florida Panthers offense is sure to be exciting to watch. Tallon and Dineen promise fans that the Cats on the ice will play hard, and with a new-found energy that will bring the crowd to their feet.
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