Once, a few years ago, I said that I would always want to trade with the Panthers, because they seem to have a wealth of young players and are always willing to make a move. I was specifically, at that time, thinking of Jonathan Marchessault who was one of the first fixtures of the Vegas Golden Knights when he was selected in the expansion draft. Now, looking at the Panthers, built internally on the backs of Jonathan Huberdeau and Aaron Ekblad, it seems like they were onto something these past few years.
Dan LeBatard left ESPN at the time the NHL was coming back to the network, but he still has a podcast and radio program in his hometown of Miami. Stuck in Minnesota as I am, I don’t have a finger on the pulse of Miami, but listening to he and his cohosts swoon over the Panthers, I can only presume that his interest is a reflection of the town, and there is excitement over the Panthers in South Florida. I decided to reach out to some fans and insiders about what THEY thought of the first place Panthers. Check out one conversation I had wit an anonymous sportswriter.
BMR – So what do you think about the Florida Panthers? Why are they so successful this year?
AS – Ha! I don’t know that I’ve ever heard that before, but it suits them, tenacious and always seeming to land on their feet. Very clever.
BMR – They…. I’m sorry, what? What hadn’t you heard before?
AS – The Florida Panthers. It’s good, because they are in Florida, and they are catlike and quick, and the Florida Panther is a real animal. It’s a classic nickname, nice work.
BMR – I… I didn’t come up with that. The Florida Panthers are a real team.
AS – OK, just so we are clear. We are both actually talking about the Tampa Bay Lightning, right?
BMR – No.
AS – I thought you reached out about some NHL questions?
BMR – Yes. The Florida Panthers, who play near Miami, are in first place in the Atlantic, and have the most goals in the league.
AS – The Lightning.
BMR – No, the Panthers. They have Alexander Barkov and Sergei Bobrovsky…
AS – No no no, Barkov never came to the NHL and Bobrovsky retired.
BMR – [screen share] AS – Oh hell. I need to go work on some stuff.
We all need to be talking about the Panthers more.