In professional sports, frustration is natural. Whether it be because a team isn’t living up to it’s potential or they can’t get anywhere in the playoffs, many fans get frustrated with their team. The 2016-17 Florida Panthers season was probably the most frustrating sports seasons for most South Florida sports fans in a long time. After a 103 point season, the team miserably unperformed at 81 points. To make matters worse the team had gone on a 5 game road winning streak before falling apart. Even some of the biggest die hard fans couldn’t find the heart to tune in late in the year.
The 2017 offseason was strange. After handing the reins back to Dale Tallon, it looked like Dale was a bit hungover as he let 30 goal scorer Jon Marchessault and sniper Reilly Smith go to the Vegas Golden Knights for a measly 4th round pick. Dale also let ageless wonder Jaromir Jagr and veteran Jussi Jokinen walk, both players who could’ve filled in the top 9. However Dale signed Evengy Dadonov and Radim Vrbata who have filled in well for those two. Tallon traded Defenseman Jason Demers to Arizona for Forward Jamie McGinn to help fill the top 6. Although McGinn is definitely a 3rd line forward, given the right linemates he can thrive on the second line. Tallon sent down Henrik Haapala, one of the favorites of all the prospects to make the team and instead kept Connor Brickley. No complaints on Brick he has done awesome. Jared McCann won a spot as did Owen Tippett.
Tallon didn’t do much to change the lackluster defense other than get rid of Demers. However without Demers, this defense doesn’t look much different. Aaron Ekblad has been solid offensively but he has been awful defensively. Keith Yandle has done well defensively recently. I think as of right now Yandle is our best defenseman. Mark Pysyk is still the best defensive defenseman. However Tallon awarded Mike Matheson an unproven young defenseman an 8 year extension. Matheson hasn’t proven he can be a defensive star that deserves that contract yet. While I think it will be beneficial down the line, his offensive production is not doing well this year and he made several defensive mistakes against the Blue Jackets on Thursday. Alex Petrovic has been underwhelming and has been scratched on numerous occasions. Rookies Ian McCoshen and Mackenzie Weegar have been solid. However the biggest problem is in net. All 3 goalies- Luongo, Reimer and Niemi are/have been notoriously inconsistent.
This team’s offense is phenomenal. It’s just frustrating because this team is really scoring but they are allowing a ridiculous amount of goals. Don’t get me wrong high scoring games are entertaining but at the end of the day all that matters is that you need to score more than the other team. The defense isn’t holding up.
This team is more frustrating this year in my opinion than last year because our new coach isn’t someone the players despise and we are scoring. Our new coach is supposed to be a defensive mastermind and it’s blowing right up in his face. Many fans are very frustrated watching this team as it’s just same old give up too many goals. This team has a playoff caliber offense and the offensive core is among the best in the league. Aleksander Barkov is arguably a top 25 player in the NHL. Evengy Dadonov will score 30 goals this year. Jonathan Huberdeau and Vincent Trocheck are among the best playmakers in the league. It’s so hard to watch these guys talents be wasted by a lackluster defense. If this team can get an elite goalie and Aaron Ekblad can finally develop into a franchise defenseman, this is a cup winning team. However right now we have to boil in the frustration of Ekblad trying to adjust to life without Brian Campbell and goaltending struggles. Perhaps Tallon should try to get Soupy out of retirement and give Sam Montembeault a chance in net? That wouldn’t work. Until this defense and goaltending can get it’s act together, this team is the most frustrating in the NHL.