For the past 19 years (12 with The Hockey News), Dobber has looked at every team from a fantasy hockey perspective and rated them.
The 20th Annual Review will appear here on DobberHockey throughout the summer/fall. This is not a review of likely performance on the ice or in the standings, but in fantasy hockey both for the upcoming season and for the foreseeable future. Offensively, will the team perform well? Are there many depth options worth owning in goalkeeper leagues? What about the next two or three years? These questions are what I take into consideration when looking at the depth chart and the player’s potential on that depth chart.
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Faded away – Noel Acciari, Ben Chiarot, Claude Giroux, Robert Hagg, Jonathan Huberdeau, Jonas Johansson, Mason Marchment, Markus Nutivaara, Mackenzie Weegar
incoming – Rudolf Balcers, Anthony Bitetto, Nick Cousins, Michael Del Zotto, Alex Lyon, Gerry Mayhew, Marc Staal, Nathan Staios, Chris Tierney, Matthew Tkachuk, Colin White
Impact of changes – The Panthers have been relatively quiet this offseason and haven’t caused a stir in the hockey world at all. No. Definitely not. Minus this little transaction that happened around 10 p.m. on July 22. I don’t know if this is the biggest deal to close in the salary cap era or not, but Jonathan Huberdeau, Mackenzie Weegar and prospect Cole Schwindt (and a conditional premiere in 2025 that will probably go until 2026) were traded to Calgary in exchange for Matthew Tkachuk to really shake things up for this club’s fantastic prospects. We can go back and forth on who “won” the trade, but for now we need to look at how much this affects the Pans when it comes to fantasy. You won’t really see much of a step back here in fantasy value, as Florida replaced a player in Huberdeau who had 115 points last season to Tkachuk’s 104 points. Counting all forward lines that have played over 250 minutes, Tkachuk moves from a front line to Calgary that had an expected goals per 60 minutes of 3.36 (6e) to a front row with an expected number of goals per 60 of 3.63 (5e), so again production should remain at a high level. He’ll be next to Aleksander Barkov on Florida’s front row for sure and likely across from Carter Verhaeghe on his opposite wing.
The loss of Weegar on the blue line could hurt this club’s offensive output as they had a great season last year and even played on the power play towards the end of last year. Weegar led all Florida defensemen in shots at 203 and assists at 33, while playing a very physical game.
While it doesn’t directly affect fantasy, it’s also worth noting that the Panthers parted ways with Andrew Brunette following the club’s second-round exit against Tampa Bay, replacing him with Paul Maurice.
Ready for full time – It’s pretty slim here for Florida in terms of young players that could impact this club. Anton Lundell is now a household name who played 65 games for the club last season and will likely be the team’s third line centre, and Spencer Knight is also a player we now know who will get his occasional star in the net when Sergei Bobrovsky has the night off.
The club’s top prospect, 22-year-old left-winger Gregori Denisenko, will see the NHL at some point, but he’s unlikely to have any real impact on Florida’s top six this season. He’s got a great shot and has shown flashes of rushing the net easily, but aside from a few stints with the Panthers this season, he’s a player you can skip if you’re in dynasty leagues/ guards and concentrate elsewhere.
Fantastic prospects – The top-notch players for fantasy this season, and it should come as no big surprise, will be Barkov, Tkachuk and even Sergei Bobrovsky if you’re looking to focus on goalkeepers early in your draft. If your league draft position rather than forward/defender, there’s a lot of value in crosses you could grab later in your draft, but Barkov can and should be one of the top five fantasy centers this upcoming season. He finished 7e in points from the central position last season but that was only playing in 67 games, the prediction for him should very well be close to or just above the 100 point mark playing close to 82. Looking at Tkachuk, you get a good mix of attack as well as hits and blocked shots, maybe also a new boost for the club?
Outside of high-profile attackers, there’s a lot more to love in Florida for the fantasy. Carter Verhaeghe, Sam Reinhart, Anton Lundell and Sam Bennett are all good players to field this season, all playing on man advantage. Anthony Duclair is also another player to consider, but with him likely starting the season on IR, he’ll be someone to watch as an addition during the season.
On the blue line, it really is Aaron Ekblad or the bust of this club, Ekblad played on Florida’s best defensive pairing last season as well as the best power play for the majority. Florida experimented with a five-man power play unit near the trade deadline last season after acquiring Claude Giroux and had some success until the playoffs when the club put Ekblad back in the top unit. of power play. We’ll have to wait and see how Florida rolls out Ekblad to special teams this season, but for now, we expect him to be Florida’s top power-play unit quarterback.
The only concern when it comes to this team has to be its overall health. This is a team that suffered a slew of injuries over the past season and if that had a direct impact on their playoff play, there’s no denying that this club looked like it was running out of steam so to speak. . Three players played 80 games for this club last season, including Huberdeau and Weegar, who are now gone.
Florida has had a very strange past few months, the roster has changed players, draft picks and coaches, ranging from Huberdeau, Weegar, 20 games from Chiarot and Giroux, Owen Tippett and 2023 first-round picks to 2025. That being said, they are still a talented club who won enough games last year to win the President’s Trophy, and could very well be better this season than last. They’re going to be in it for the long haul this coming season and there’s no denying that while they may have lost a few top plays, they’ve done a good job of winning deep players like Nick Cousins, Colin White and Marc Staal.
Fantasy level – B (last year was an A)