The Panthers have gotten off to a slow start this season, posting a 3-5-3 record that has them last overall in the NHL. Accordingly, speculation has picked up about whether it’s time for them to shake things up. In an appearance on TSN 1260 (audio link), TSN’s Darren Dreger stated that he doesn’t expect GM Dale Tallon to make a significant move but instead may try to make a smaller one to see if that gets the team going:
“I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s pretty eager to try and shake the culture of this group a little bit. I don’t get the sense that there’s going to be anything significant, but if it continues to drag on where this team is still playing sluggishly, maybe then the general manager does step in in some way, shape or form.”
It’s at least worth noting that the Panthers have at least four games in hand on every team in the Atlantic Division so while they sit seven points out of a Wild Card spot heading into tonight’s action, they can work their way back into the mix fairly quickly. A healthy Roberto Luongo should help their fortunes but if they continue to scuffle, a small move could be on the horizon.
Elsewhere in the East:
- The Rangers will be without winger Mats Zuccarello for at least the next two games due to a groin strain, notes Newsday’s Anthony Rieber. He will be re-evaluated by team doctors when they return from their road trip this weekend. New York will, however, have center Brett Howden back for their game on Friday though after he missed Tuesday’s victory over Montreal because of an upper-body injury.
- New Jersey will have winger Jesper Bratt back in the lineup tomorrow against Toronto, reports Abbey Mastracco of the Bergen Record. He has missed the entire season due to a broken jaw. The 20-year-old surprised many by making the Devils last season but he wound up having a strong rookie year, tallying 35 points in 74 games. Meanwhile, winger Stefan Noesen and defenseman Steven Santini participated in practice but aren’t expected to be taken off IR. As the team has a full roster (Bratt will be activated into Eddie Lack’s soon-to-be-opened slot), some more movement is likely on the way.