Good morning and welcome to "Cats & Coffee," a weekly segment in which we get you caffeinated with an exciting look at the week ahead for the Florida Panthers.
Even in the summer, the Florida Panthers are working hard to earn top marks.
With the first few weeks of free agency and the NHL Draft now in the rearview, the landscape for the upcoming season is beginning to take shape. While a few adjustments could potentially still be made prior to Opening Night, the majority of NHL rosters are now close to being set.
There were additions and subtractions, major trades and minor moves. There were teams that kicked off rebuilds and others that established themselves as contenders. For nearly every one of the league's 31 teams, there was at least one move that will likely have lasting implications.
And like the regular season, the offseason also has its winners and losers.
With fans hungering more than ever for hockey-related news, pundits and outlets from around the league have begun to hand out their grades and awards from the offseason - spoiler: The Panthers are well on their way to making the honor roll.
After a 96-point finish - the third-best season in franchise history - and falling just one point short of the postseason, The Athletic's Dom Luszczyszyn awarded the Panthers an A-minus grade, thanks in large part to the addition of addition perennial 50-point winger Mike Hoffman.
In his article, Luszczyszyn determined his grades by "net value added, net value added per player, and the difference in each team's point projection between now and June." With the addition of Hoffman and the subtraction of others, he believes Florida added 1.5 wins.
"Few players can shoot and score at his rate and he's a terrific addition to what now appears to be a loaded Panthers top six," Luszczyszyn wrote of Hoffman's impact.
Overall, the Panthers were one of just six teams to receive a grade of A-minus or better.
You can see Luszczyszyn's grades for all 31 teamsHERE.
Reading Tour Rolls On
If you haven't checked out the Panthers Summer Reading Tour, you're missing out!
In conjunction with Broward County Libraries and the Broward Public Library Foundation, the Panthers are visiting a total of 11 area libraries from June-August, with special guests, alumni and personalities serving as guest readers at each stop.
This week, the tour will make two stops, starting with a trip to the Paul DeMaio Library in Dania Beach on Tuesday from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Later, the tour will visit the Carver Ranches Library on Thursday from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. There will be fun activities both in and outside at both locations.
So far, the tour has had an incredible guest reader and each and every stop, including Roberto Luongo, broadcasters Doug Plagens and Bill Lindsey, and, most recently, Aaron Ekblad. With more than 70 children hanging on his every word, the 22-year-old defenseman read "I'm Cool," the story of a heroic Zamboni, at the Southwest Regional Library in Pembroke Pines.
"It's a little bit nerve-wracking," said Ekblad, who enjoyed conversing with young fans and signing autographs after his reading session had ended. "It's a treat, honestly, for me, nice to give back and be able to read to some kids and maybe teach them a little bit about hockey the Zamboni and what the book was all about.
For more information about the tour, please visit FloridaPanthers.com/ReadingTour.
Cats Clip of the Week
It's the video game sensation that seemingly everyone's playing, including Panthers prospects. So, of course, we couldn't help but talk about "Fortnite" at last month's development camp.
Video: Development Camp: Fortnite
Cats in the Community
Cold Coffee (In Case You Missed It)