The Panthers Key to a Top-3 Finish in the Atlantic

The Panthers Key to a Top-3 Finish in the Atlantic

I bet you didn’t know Roberto Luongo finished last season with the best save percentage by a 38-year old, ever. True story. 

(Courtesy: QuantHockey.com)

If Luongo can match his play from last year, and stay healthy, I think the Panthers have a real shot at a top-3 finish in the Atlantic Division. 

Luongo finished last season with a .929 save percentage which was 3rd best in the league behind Antti Raanta and Carter Hutton. However, injuries limited him to only 35 games. James Reimer ended up playing more than half of the Panthers games and put up a save percentage just a point above league average, at .913. 

The most noticeable difference between the two came on shots from the most high-danger area of the ice, the inner slot. Luongo ranked 7th in the league, stopping well over 80% of the shots he faced from here. Reimer, 49th out of 58 goalies who played at least 1,000 minutes.  

I loved the addition of Mike Hoffman and the Panthers have studs down the middle in Alex Barkov and Vincent Trocheck. Goaltending is the X-factor for me. 

If Florida can get 50+ games out of Luongo and a .920 or better save percentage, this team will be in the playoffs and like I said, maybe even top-3 in their division. 

Just don’t bank on Strombone setting the save % record for a 39-year old goalie – that belongs to Jacques Plante who posted a ridiculous .940 save % back in 1969 with the St. Louis Blues.

 

(Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images)