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2005-06 Finish: 37-34-11, 11th East
General Manager: Jacques Martin (1st Season)
Head Coach: Jacques Martin (2nd Season)
2005-06 Goals For: 240
2005-06 Goals Against: 257
2005-06 Power Play: 15.3% (24th)
2005-06 Penalty Killing: 82.3% (14th)
Points Leader: Olli Jokinen (89)
Goals Leader: Olli Jokinen (38)
Assists Leader: Olli Jokinen (51)

Offseason Moves: Agreed to terms with left wing Ville Peltonen, who had been in Switzerland; acquired right wing Todd Bertuzzi, defenceman Bryan Allen and goaltender Alex Auld from the Vancouver Canucks for goaltender Roberto Luongo, defenceman Lukas Krajicek and a 2006 sixth-round pick; acquired goaltender Craig Anderson from the Chicago Blackhawks for a 2008 sixth-round pick; agreed to terms with defenceman Ruslan Salei, who had been with the Anaheim Ducks, on a four-year contract; agreed to terms with goaltender Ed Belfour, who had been with the Toronto Maple Leafs, on a one-year contract.

Goaltending: So long Roberto Luongo, hello Alex Auld. And Ed Belfour. Auld, 25, stepped up for the Vancouver Canucks last year in the absence of Dan Cloutier and performed well with 33 wins, a 2.94 goals-against average and .902 save percentage in 67 games. Former GM Mike Keenan wanted Auld's workload shortened a bit, and signed his former Blackhawks netminder as backup. Belfour is coming off a lacklustre season with the Maple Leafs, going 22-22-4 with a 3.29 goals-against average. He didn't play after March 10 because of his injured back, but offseason surgery and a smaller workload could make him more effective this season.

Defence: The Panthers have a defence corps that shows plenty of promise. At just 22 years of age, Jay Bouwmeester is a solid all-around defender whose skating and puck-handling abilities work well on the rush. He led all Florida defenceman in scoring with 46 points and could put up even better numbers this season. Mike Van Ryn is also a complete rearguard who moves the puck well and isn't afraid of the physical game. Bryan Allen, 25, is becoming a good stay-at-home guy and has the size to clear the front of the net. Ruslan Salei also brings a much needed physical element as one of the league's best hitters with a nasty streak to top it off. The Panthers also re-signed veteran Ric Jackman, a hard-working defensive player with a big shot who had career highs in points and penalty minutes last year with Florida and Pittsburgh.

Forwards: Todd Bertuzzi is coming off a so-called bad season in which he scored 25 goals and 71 points. Given all the distractions he's endured over the last two seasons in Vancouver, Florida is a good market for him to re-establish himself as a star. In Sunrise, Bertuzzi will fly under the radar, concentrate on playing hockey, and should resurrect his career to re-emerge as the elite power forward we saw a few seasons ago. That's good news for Olli Jokinen, who gets a top-tier linemate after leading the team with 89 points last year. The rest of the forward ranks feature a good balance of youth and veteran experience. Martin Gelinas, Gary Roberts and Joe Nieuwendyk have another season to tutor up-and-comers Rostislav Olesz, Stephen Weiss and Nathan Horton, while journeymen Chris Gratton and Jozef Stumpel will continue to improve the team's penalty killing and offence respectively.

Welcome to the NHL: The Panthers wanted some size up front, and got it in the offseason with Bertuzzi. But the team has another hulking power forward in prospect Anthony Stewart. His development took a step back last season after missing 65 games with a wrist injury, but Stewart should be ready for full-time duty. He's big, goes hard to the net and can put points up on the board.
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