LAST SEASON: 29-45-8, 66 points. Missed the playoffs by finishing 15th in the Eastern Conference.
COACH: Gerald Gallant, 1st season with Panthers; 4th overall in NHL, 56-76-4.
ADDED: C Jussi Jokinen, C Dave Bolland, D Willie Mitchell, G Al Montoya, C Derek MacKenzie, LW Shawn Thornton.
LOST: D Tom Gilbert, C Scott Gomez, C Marcel Goc, D Ed Jovanovski, G Tim Thomas, G Scott Clemmensen, G Jacob Markstrom.
PLAYER TO WATCH: G Roberto Luongo. For as much as the Panthers are talking about scoring more goals and improving special teams—and rightly so—Florida’s hopes hinge upon one of the most popular players in team history. If Luongo is great, the Panthers could be a playoff team. If he struggles, so will Florida.
OUTLOOK: So much has to change quickly for Florida to get in playoff contention, but the Panthers went out and tried during the off-season to revamp just about everything from locker-room mood to on-ice style. Opening with five road games in the season’s first seven outings may set the tone.