Florida Panthers

A look at Florida Panthers 2015-16 roster

Roberto Luongo is back minding the net for the Florida Panthers.
Roberto Luongo is back minding the net for the Florida Panthers. AP

A breakdown of the Florida Panthers roster as they prepare for the 2015-16 season:

FORWARDS

C Aleksander Barkov | 16

Ht., Wt.: 6-3, 214.

Age: 20.

Hometown: Tampere, Finland.

NHL seasons/with Panthers: 3/3.

Barkov is in his third season as Florida’s top-line center and was strong last year — especially when Jaromir Jagr joined the team. Expect more than the 18 goals Barkov tallied last year.

C Nick Bjugstad | 27

Ht., Wt.: 6-6, 220.

Age: 23.

Hometown: Minneapolis .

NHL seasons/with Panthers: 3/3.

Bjugstad led the Panthers in scoring two years ago and was on pace to repeat before back surgery cut his season short. Signed to a six-year deal, the Panthers are excited about the future of the former Mr. Minnesota prep hockey star.

C Dave Bolland | 63

Ht., Wt.: 6-0, 184.

Age: 29.

Hometown: Mimico, Ontario.

NHL seasons/with Panthers: 9/2.

Florida’s third-line center, Bolland struggled with a groin issue early last year and never really recovered. Bolland came to camp in great shape and looks to have more than the 23 points he ended with last year.

RW Connor Brickley | 86

Ht., Wt.: 6-0, 205.

Age: 23.

Hometown: Everett, Massachusetts.

NHL seasons/with Panthers: 1/1.

After a strong training camp, Brickley was one of the final players to make the 2015-16 team. Brickley is strong on the puck and could be a breakout player on Florida’s fourth line.

RW Rocco Grimaldi | 23

Ht., Wt.: 5-6, 180.

Age: 22.

Hometown: Rossmore, California.

Grimaldi was penciled into the lineup before camp started, but an ankle injury during an exhibition game slowed his progress and the former North Dakota standout will start the season on the injured list.

LW Quinton Howden | 42

Ht., Wt.: 6-2, 190.

Age: 23.

Hometown: Oak Bank, Manitoba .

NHL seasons/with Panthers: 1/1.

Howden has been up and down with the Panthers a few times, playing a total of 34 NHL. The Panthers now feel Howden is ready to play decent minutes, mostly on the fourth line and in killing penalties.

LW Jonathan Huberdeau | 11

Ht., Wt.: 6-1, 188.

Age: 22.

Hometown: St. Jerome, Quebec.

NHL seasons/with Panthers: 4/4.

After struggling in his second NHL season, Huberdeau really took off last year and ended the season as Florida's leading scorer with 15 goals and 54 points. The Panthers are expecting even more this season.

LW Jaromir Jagr | 68

Ht., Wt: 6-3, 230.

Age: 43.

Hometown: Kladno, Czech Republic.

NHL seasons/with Panthers: 22/2.

The NHL’s active leader in just about every category, Jagr enters his first full season after his February trade from New Jersey seemed to not only rejuvenate the Panthers but Jagr himself. Jagr returns to Florida’s top line alongside Barkov and Huberdeau.

LW Jussi Jokinen | 36

Ht., Wt.: 5-11, 198.

Age: 32.

Hometown: Kalajoki, Finland.

NHL seasons/with Panthers: 11/2.

Jokinen’s goal totals dropped off after leaving Pittsburgh for the Panthers last year but he still ended second on the team with 44 points. Jokinen is a dependable, hard-working key cog on Florida’s third line.

C Derek MacKenzie | 17

Ht., Wt.: 5-11, 181.

Age: 34.

Hometown: Sudbury, Ontario .

NHL seasons/with Panthers: 12/2.

MacKenzie had a solid season with the Panthers after signing a three-year deal with the team. Florida’s fourth-line center and key penalty killer, MacKenzie does a lot of things people don’t notice.

C Brandon Pirri | 73

Ht., Wt.: 6-0, 183.

Age: 24.

Hometown: Toronto.

NHL seasons/with Panthers: 3/3.

Pirri had a breakout season — as well as a historical one — as he scored 22 goals with just two assists. Linemates Bjugstad and Smith will get him the puck a lot. Pirri knows what to do with it once he receives it.

RW Reilly Smith | 18

Ht., Wt.: 6-0, 185.

Age: 24.

Hometown: Toronto.

NHL seasons/with Panthers: 4/1.

Smith came to the Panthers in a July 1 trade with Boston in which Jimmy Hayes (who scored a career-high 19 goals) was sent north. Smith is quick and can score goals — he had 20 two years ago — and will start on Florida’s second line.

RW Shawn Thornton | 22

Ht., Wt.: 6-2, 217.

Age: 38.

Hometown: Oshawa, Ontario.

NHL seasons/with Panthers: 13/2.

One of the tougher players in the game, Thornton came to Florida after seven seasons in Boston and played in 45 games. Expect the same kind of workload in what could be Thornton’s final season.

RW Vincent Trocheck | 21

Ht., Wt.: 5-11, 185.

Age: 22.

Hometown: Pittsburgh.

NHL seasons/with Panthers: 2/2.

Trocheck ended up playing 50 games for the Panthers last year after being called up from the AHL and has fit in nicely on Florida’s third line alongside Bolland and Jokinen. Trocheck is good with the puck and strong around the net.

DEFENSEMEN

Brian Campbell | 51

Ht., Wt: 5-11, 189.

Age: 36.

Hometown: Strathroy, Ontario.

NHL seasons/with Panthers: 14/5.

Campbell has played in every game since joining the Panthers in 2011 and was instrumental in helping Ekblad win top rookie honors. The Panthers would like more offensive output from Campbell, and in a contract year, expect more than the three goals scored last year.

Aaron Ekblad | 5

Ht., Wt.: 6-3, 213.

Age: 19.

Hometown: Windsor, Ontario.

NHL seasons/with Panthers: 2/2.

The top selection of the 2014 NHL draft, Ekblad made his mark with the Panthers last year as he became the second Calder Trophy winner for Florida (Huberdeau) in three years. Ekblad is strong, physical, has a terrific shot and plays above his years.

Erik Gudbranson | 44

Ht., Wt.: 6-5, 216.

Age: 23.

Hometown: Ottawa, Ontario.

NHL seasons/with Panthers: 5/5.

One of Florida's toughest defensive players, Gudbranson had four goals with nine assists last season as he has settled into his role playing alongside Mitchell. The Panthers are expecting a big year from Gudbranson in this contract year.

Steven Kampfer | 3

Ht., Wt.: 5-11, 190.

Age: 27.

Hometown: Ann Arbor, Michigan.

NHL seasons/with Panthers: 5/2.

The Panthers pulled Kampfer away from the Rangers before last season started with the intentions of having him spend the season in the AHL. Kampfer would be called up, however, and his strong play impressed the Panthers and he never left. Florida signed him to a two-year extension during the season.

Dmitry Kulikov | 7

Ht., Wt.: 6-1, 204.

Age: 24.

Hometown: Lipetsk, Russia.

NHL seasons/with Panthers: 7/7.

Kulikov had perhaps his best season with the Panthers last year as he worked well with whomever he was paired with. Florida gives Kulikov more and more responsibilities as he has matured into one of the team’s top defenders.

Willie Mitchell | 33

Ht., Wt.: 6-3, 210.

Age: 38.

Hometown: Port McNeill, British Columbia.

NHL seasons/with Panthers: 15/2.

A two-time Stanley Cup champion with Los Angeles, the Panthers’ captain played in 66 games last year and proved he can still play at a high level. Mitchell has been paired with Gudbranson and the pair has been one of Florida’s most consistent defensive pairings.

Alex Petrovic | 6

Ht., Wt.: 6-4, 206.

Age: 23.

Hometown: Edmonton, Alberta.

NHL seasons/with Panthers: 2/2.

Petrovic was one of the last cuts out of training camp last year, but when he came up he stuck around and probably will for a long time to come. Petrovic has good size and defensive range.

GOALIES

Roberto Luongo | 1

Ht., Wt.: 6-3, 217.

Age: 36.

Hometown: Montreal.

NHL seasons/with Panthers: 16/8.

Florida’s all-time leader in every goaltending category, Luongo returned to the Panthers in 2014 and kept Florida in just about every game last season and earned yet another Alll-Star Game appearance. The Panthers, again, are going to rely heavily on Luongo keeping them in games.

Al Montoya | 35

Ht., Wt.: 6-2, 203.

Age: 30.

Hometown: Chicago.

NHL seasons/with Panthers: 7/2.

Montoya had an up-and-down first season with the Panthers and he lost his chance to take over when Luongo was hurt by getting hurt himself in the same game. The Panthers are expecting a bigger season out of Montoya, who went 6-7-2 last year.

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