Panthers is a Lottery Lesson Lesson

Out of compassion for fans who are not interested in the Stanley Cup playoffs, the NHL held its lottery Tuesday evening, which ended when the Montreal Canadiens won the first round and the New Jersey Devils jumped to second from the expected. sixth position. For the two fans in particular, and for anyone with a shot to move up, this was a day of dreaming of the future, of potential. yours permission to reach someone like Auston Matthews, or Steven Stamkos — a man whose choice could lead to a new, more successful era. It’s the easiest night of the year to make sure good things are around.

The Florida Panthers are well aware of this, having missed the playoffs in all but two seasons from 2001 to 2019. Although the results mixed with their choices in the 21st century apparently kept the same “better things”, their fortunes began to turn. dawn of the last ten years. In 2011, the Panthers replaced Jonathan Huberdeau with a third choice. In 2013, he replaced Aleksander Barkov with a second. In 2014, the lottery advanced, and they replaced Aaron Ekblad. These three are the foundation of the newly formed Panthers team – three players who have won the Presidential Award. Barkov led the Panthers with 39 goals. Huberdeau led the entire league with 85 assists. This is what every lottery team dreams of.

But there is more. When the Panthers found their backs on the wall as they faced Washington in Game 5 of the 2-2 series Wednesday night, it was not these three who pulled them off. When the Capitals scored the first three goals of the game in the first 24 minutes, laughing at the next step in frustration, which could have led the Panthers team to a drought of 25 seasons, was one new phase. The Floridians scored through a series that included a return that gave them a 5-3 victory.

The first was Carter Verhaeghe, who made his first appearance for his team with Lightning in 2019 but left after winning the 2020 Cup because Tampa could not afford him under his salary. The Panthers signed him at a low price and saw him emerge as the second player, the first with 18 goals in 43 games in the short term last year and then with 24 goals and 31 assists this season. Most importantly, he has been a huge hitter when he needs it the most, with four goals and three assists in just the last two Panthers games. Verhaeghe opens Panthers’ account and login door to door, then with the game tied for the third time, he forced back and ran to the end of the ice.

“He has been the best player on the ice in the last two games,” Panthers teammate Patric Hornqvist said of Verhaeghe’s victory on Wednesday. But Hornqvist made it his own, too. The 35-year-old Nashville and Pittsburgh veteran, who won consecutive Cups as a Penguin and scored the most goals in 2017, Hornqvist arrived in Florida in the 2020 trade for the late Mike’s first. Matheson and fringe NHLer Colton Scevior. He did not light a statsheet, but Hornqvist has created deep lines with great sporting events and old tricks. After scoring 11 goals this season, he climbed to the top 5 in a battlefield after receiving a fine pass from Verhaeghe.

Sam Reinhart then built it up and enhanced the Panthers’ reputation as the most returning team in the league. The 26-year-old played his entire career at Buffalo until the end of the summer, when the Floundering Sabers intervened with a banned person to pick and choose. The second senior election in 2014 was a regular 20-goal man in his six years in the north, and he is now brighter as he is in the winning team. Reinhart scored 33 goals and 49 assists this year, all of which climbed higher, and five minutes before the second half he took advantage of the turmoil on the net (also encouraged by Verhaeghe) to cross the line.

And with 4-3 games, the most popular of all the Panthers’ portraits made a moment. You will also hear Verhaeghe’s name in the photo, but at the end of all the places that are interested in Claude Giroux, a mid-season shopping and one of Philadelphia’s best Flyers. Giroux especially wanted to go to Florida to chase his first Cup, and although he has not scored many goals in his short time so far, he has shown his final ability to give the Panthers a late rest room.

I am a 20-year-old Red Wings fan, which means that for a long time I had a blessed ignorance of putting money into a draft lottery. This has obviously changed in recent years, and like many other fans now I focus on my hockey with one eye on the NHL and one eye on youngsters growing up elsewhere. Yes, Lucas Raymond and Moritz Seider have already exceeded their expectations. But the Panthers ’victory on Wednesday illuminates the limit of this narrow concept that rewards the nominees to eliminate all other forms of team building.

Larger clusters are built on more than just a few stars that you can’t miss. they to be to be. Even a GM who hits on his first, second, and third line picks in three straight seasons — something that has never happened and will never happen again — is still less than half of the final list. And while many of these groups who cross their fingers in the lottery try to take any major changes in the freebies or market, and prioritize future transformation rather than further improvement, these are steps that will not be missed. The Panthers didn’t come here tonight. Even Tampa Bay, perhaps the most well-formed team of all time, needed guys like Blake Coleman and Kevin Shattenkirk to help them on the hump.

A star-studded, a-changer, a wounded man, and a skilled scrapper: These are the riders on the four horses of every Cup of Nations race, and you will not find them by name in June. Unlike Shane Wright, Logan Cooley, and other kids expected to go to the lottery teams this summer, the players are now off the radars of Devils fans, Red Wings fans, Flyers fans, and all the others following the rebuilding. They are not the ones whose jerseys are displayed in the team store before they start at the NHL, or whose entire game is posted on Twitter to see if they are growing well or not. He did not appear on the list expected of the team. But they’re out somewhere, right now, and the bad teams that want to be fit and the good teams that want to be professionals will want them. The franchise can go to playoff form. But as the Panthers – and, of course, the Oilers – are well aware, without the necessary pieces around the winning lottery, removal is still necessary.

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