|Which team do I play for now? Do you even know who I am...?|
In the second of our series of five NHL teams that Kansas Citians can cheer for, we have a team very similar to the Kings. But in what way? Jump to find out.
YOOOOOOUUUUURRRRRRRR FLORIDA PANTHERS!!!!!!
Village West Best Potential Award: Player that brings the most to the team
Eh, call it a long shot, but if we are talking the most potential, I have to go with Mike Santorelli. Last year he played in his first full season in the NHL, but still scored 41 points (20-21=41). He was a miserable -17 on a team that did not score a lot, but that number should go down with an improved defense this year. Of the 195 team goals scored, though, he scored over ten percent of them. Plus, he is getting $1.6MM for the next two years, and will be an RFA at the age of 27.
Yes, Booth and Weiss are the heart and soul, blah blah blah... How droll.
Union Station Biggest Burden Award: Player with least upside and carries a big financial burden
Tomas Fleischmann, like him or not, is getting paid a lot of money to play on the top line and (hopefully) score. His cap hit is something to the tune of $4.5MM over the next four years on a team that was desperately trying to get to the cap floor in the offseason. He only scored thirty-one points in 45 games last year with the Avs and Caps (12-19=31) and he has only scored as many as 51 points (23-28=51) in any one season.
2004 2008 2012 Royals Hope Award: Reason
The Panthers blog Litter Box Cats puts it best, so I will defer to them:
Three rookies looking to make the jump: Erik Gudbranson, Jonathan Huberdeau and Quinton Howden are all in contention to start the year with the Panthers, but do not think any have assured spots on a very competitive roster that is already at capacity. Howden is worth mentioning after a great year Moose Jaw of the OHL but after a possible injury in rookie camp, he has probably fallen off the radar for a roster spot. Huberdeau has been fantastic in the last few weeks, but size is still his major hurdle to jump. If he signs an entry level deal in the next weeks there is a very good possibility he gets the 9 game NHL tryout, but expect him back in juniors after that. Hubs still has a way to go before we see him crack the lineup. That leaves the most developed of the prospects, Erik Gudbranson, in contention for a roster spot. Gudbranson has shown he wants to be a Panther, and assuming he competes well with the big guns in the next weeks, should have that distinction when the season opener rolls around. Gudbranson will undoubtedly get the 9 game tryout, but should also be part of a 7 man defensive group.After constant GM changes since the new owners took over in 2001, the team looks like it will stick with new GM Dale Tallon’s rebuilding plan for the franchise. Digging around the cap floor, the team has chosen not to pay many of their veterans ridiculous salaries. Thus, by the time the youth of the system hits the ice full time, it will be easier to lock them up long term.
Katie Horner Scared-Sh!tless Award: Reason to Worry
Buck O’Neil Positive Attitude Award: Reason to cheer them
- Again, if you are a bandwagoner, now is as good of a time than any. They can’t get any worse, and they seem to be going in the right direction.
- Maybe they will continue to struggle financially and pack up and move to KC. Nah, probably not...
- They have a lot of cap room to make moves if they want to (but they don’t, so don’t count them out.
- They have an awesome marketing deparment.
Also, Randy Moller. (Does he do this anymore? I listened to a few games online last season and he didn’t scream the pop culture references. Made me sad.)
Mark Funkhouser Memorial Trophy: Reason to Hate Them
- You are not a fan of non-traditional hockey markets. (*cough* Kansas City *cough*)
- You dislike an unstable organization that ranks towards the bottom half in team attendance every year.
- You already cheer for teams that haven’t won playoff games since the ‘90s (or before).
- Their inability to keep quality goaltenders (Vokoun, Luongo) reminds you too much of the Royals with Beltran, Damon, Dye, Cone, Greinke, etc.
- You are afraid of panthers.
Worlds of Fun Ride that Best Describes the Franchise: Le TaxiTour
I was going to say the Halloween Haunt thing they do every year, but that’s not a ride. So, instead, the Panthers are a lot like the Le TaxiTour, antique looking (French?) taxis on a auto-guided track. I wanted to ride the taxis every time I went to WoF as a kid. They were nice and safe, no loops, not too fast, and my dad let me “drive” around the time I was five or six. It was cool. But every time I rode, I knew what was going to happen. There was no big surprise. Such is the Florida Panthers. Every season the Panthers come out with a somewhat different, albeit mediocre, look and don’t do anything too exciting on the ice. Then the regular season ends, and they are forgotten. Forgotten, that is, until the next year when everybody is all like “hey, I remember this” and the cycle begins anew.
By the way, I still like Le TaxiTour, so, yeah.
|"Follow me to freedom!!!"|
Number of Floating, Disembodied Jack Harry Heads:
Three out of five
One finals run and no real history other than that. Very similar to the Royals, though, in that they are finally starting to build up deep in the minors for a future that could be somewhat lucrative. Also a compelling parallel, the fact that they fill out their roster with a bunch of veteran "character" guys. You could call them the Royals of the NHL. But, Jack and other media types only scream about them for so long, and then midseason hits and no one cares.
Misunderstood and ignored in south Florida, the Panthers struggle from attendance and support issues, prompting many to start relocation rumors even though the Panthers have a stable ownership group. Those following them are hardcore fans and not just bandwagon jumpers, so you cannot be plagued with that semi-pointless stigma.
You will not see them in Kansas City unless their situation gets worse, but the media probably wouldn't care anyway. They probably aren't the "right situation" we need, like the Rangers, Bruins, Red Wings, or Blackhawks...
Still, a solid choice for Kansas Citians to follow. I mean, few others follow them, so why don't we start a Midwest support group. That would be cool. Jump on the empty BANDWAGON and be a part of something you create!
And that's JACK SMACK!!!
And that's JACK SMACK!!!