Through the first 14 games of the season, the 2021-22 Florida Panthers have had no issues putting the puck in the back of the net. Whether it is late-game heroics or pulling ahead early in the games, it is almost as if the Panthers can score at will. But who is it coming from? Tied at first in Goals For, in the league at 54, the Panthers come to entertain every night.
2021-22 Florida Panthers Defence Can Score
As of Saturday afternoon, the Florida Panthers defensive group is one of the most productive in all of the National Hockey League. They are just sitting behind the Anaheim Ducks and Minnesota Wild, whose defensive groups each have 40 combined defensive points. The Panthers’ defencemen are sitting pretty at 37 combined defensive points between their top six guys.
The Panthers’ defence is firing on all cylinders. Led by Aaron Ekblad, four goals and six assists, and Gustav Forsling, ten assists total. Now, while most of these points are coming from primary and secondary assists, producing is producing. They do not ask how; they ask how many. Following them up with “defensive secondary scoring,” if you will. Brandon Montour, seven points, MacKenzie Weegar, six points, and Radko Gudas, four points, are all finding ways to produce offensively as well. While Montour and Ekblad are the only “D-men” with goals, that job can be and should be left to their forward group. They will have no problem taking over the responsibility. With that, looking to last season, the 2021-22 Florida Panthers defensive group is scoring more than many would expect.
Panthers Defence Surpassing Offensive Expectations
We all know that Brandon Montour has tons of offensive potential. Montour has no issues carrying the puck up the ice with the ability to skate well. He has a good vision of the ice, and he is not afraid to shoot, ninth on the team in shots with 27. He is currently ninth on the team in shooting percentage at 7.4 percent, as well. Montour hasn’t played to his offensive ability since the 2018-19 season. Yet, he is currently on pace to break his season-high in points. Two other defensemen that continue to impress both defensively and offensively, Gustav Forsling and Radko Gudas.
When healthy, the second pairing of Gudas and Forsling has been steadfast for the Panthers. Complementing each other’s game, Forsling and Gudas feed off each other. So much so that they are both well on their ways to set career highs in points. While Forsling makes offence happen with his feet and skill, Radko does it more simply, ripping shots from the point. Forsling and Gudas continue to make things happen at both ends of the ice, with both of these guys in the top ten in shots on the team.
Last but certainly not least, Aaron Ekblad and MacKenzie Weegar. Arguably one of the best defensive pairings in the league, the combination of Weegar and Ekblad is deadly both on offence and defence. If they play half as well as they did last year, they will remain within the top ten on the team in points. Sure, the team may be in a bit of a slump right now, but we cannot expect a sports team of any kind to win every game. Much less an 82 game season. Suppose the 2021-22 Florida Panthers defensive group continues to produce as they have so far, the team will have no problem winning hockey games.