By Adam Williams in Sports
November 17, 2011
The Florida Panthers have not been a competitive team for quite some time now, not making the playoffs since 1996. The Toronto Mapleleafs fell off the map once legend Mats Sundin departed. Both teams this season have been off to phenomenal starts and it all starts with the rebuilding process.
Dale Tallon of the Panthers brought in a ton of skill, veteran leadership, and pieces to the puzzle with the additions of Kris Versteeg, Ed Jovanovski, Tomas Fleischmann, and Jack Skille. Brian Campbell’s monstrous contract was picked up by Tallon and he has played a vital role on the blue line for the young team. Dmitri Kulikov and Eric Gudbransson on the back end have also contributed to their success.
Brian Burke made some subtle moves and none better than Tim Connolly being added during free agency. After making the trade for Phil Kessel a couple years back, he is finally paying off, leading the league in goals and points.
Toronto is on top in the northeast division and Florida is waiting to pounce atop the southeast behind Washington and Tampa, but are patiently waiting to make their move.
Both teams have solid goaltending, great defense and are lighting the lamp on a regular basis. These teams will be dangerous throughout the season and in the post season.