The Florida Panthers’ jarringly awful power play (and special teams) from last season inspires a lot of questions, but one of the most amusing ones might be: how much worse would things have been without Brian Campbell?
As much as the scoring defenseman gets grief for a still-bloated $7.1 million cap hit, one wonders if he felt strangely alone at times in Florida.
He easily led the Panthers’ woeful power play in points with 12 in 2012-13, factoring into a significant chunk of their disastrously low 27 total power-play tallies.
One way or another, that number should climb next season unless baffling things happen once again.
The Panthers have a strong chance of being better merely by better luck, but new head coach Gerard Gallant could look brilliant if things roll his way. There’s reason to believe that the team will improve thanks to a combination of busy offseason signings and the maturation of young players like Jonathan Huberdeau and Aleksander Barkov.
An improved power play wouldn’t guarantee a leap for the Panthers next season … but it’s hard to imagine them being hindered by such an awful unit like they were in 2012-13.
For more on this story, visit James O’Brien (Pro Hockey Talk).