The Toronto Maple Leafs Will Win the Atlantic Division

Patrice Bergeron #37 of the Boston Bruins battles against Morgan Rielly #44 of the Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
Patrice Bergeron #37 of the Boston Bruins battles against Morgan Rielly #44 of the Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) /

Florida Panthers

The Florida Panthers made it to the Stanley Cup final last season.

It makes people forget that they just snuck into the playoffs in a wild-card spot after finishing 4th in the Atlantic Division. (Though just one season removed from winning the President’s Trophy).

Although the team made some decent additions to their lineup, they also lost some good players. The Panthers will also start the season without Aaron Ekblad and Brandon Montour, as they are on LTIR.

Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Evan Rodrigues, and Dmitry Kulikov are the Panthers key off-season additions. However, they lost Eric Stall, Marc Stall, Radko Gudas, Colin White, and Alex Lyon.

There is really nothing significant in or out on that list, but Montour and Ekblad on LTIR, could spell trouble for the Panthers this season.

The Panthers still have plenty of talent in their lineup, but will it be enough to try and stay in the mix of the Atlantic Divison? I don’t think it will.

They will need to rely heavily on Matthew Tkachuk, Alexander Barkov, Carter Verhaeghe, and Sam Reinhart. If goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky struggles, Anthony Stolarz is the Panthers best option until Spencer Knight returns from the NHLPA’s player assistance program.

I don’t think the Panthers will find as much luck this season as they did during the 2022-23 season, and that is why I have them finishing in 5th place in the Atlantic Division. They could surprise us and go on a good run with momentum from their long playoff run, but I think they’re missing too much.