The Signings: Who and Why?
The Panthers had an active summer with the signing of four new players during the Free Agent Frenzy a little over a month ago.
Looking back at the signings, I wanted to ask which one you guys are most pumped on...
I suppose the obvious answer is Bob. I'm sure that will be the majority of folks' pick, but, personally, that's not my favorite. Don't get me wrong, I'm psyched to have Bob in the blue paint, but that contract has a lot of potential to be troublesome down the road - but they'll deal with that when the time comes.
While I really like the 'Stone Cold' Anton Stralman signing, I was hoping they'd do more on the blueline. Stralman will certainly help bring a stabilizing/consistent, veteran presence to the defense, but he's not a "Mr. Fix It" - nor should he be held to the standard of single-handedly correcting the backend that some fans think he will be. The defense is going to be long term project that I think Q and co. will chip away to improve as the season goes on. Stralman is a great start.
Brett Connolly is awesome in terms of a proven guy that can add to the already-strong offensive talent upfront and someone who can bury the puck.
So that leaves one...
Noel Acciari - my favorite signing of the summer.
The Cats are equipped with a number of skilled players who lack a certain type of physicality and intensity.
The Acciari signing will bring this type of game to Florida. During the 2018-19 where he played 72 games with Boston, Acciari racked up 221 hits and 32 blocked shots.
As fourth line center, he registered a faceoff percentage of 49.6%, where he won 200 draws and lost 203. He had 35 takeaways and only coughed the puck up 13 times.
In 19 playoff games last season, he tallied 4 points (2G, 2A) and maintained his 49.6% faceoff percentage, with a plus/minus rating of +2.
Acciari was a the anchor of that nasty Bruins fourth line last year and it'll be exciting to see him bring that game over to the Panthers. Not only is he a highly-physical guy, but his skill at the dot and ability to take the puck away, while not giving it away that often, are going to be great assets. Not only that, but his two-way, defensive-minded game should be helpful to the Cats defensive game as a whole.
Can't wait to see how he pans out.