WHERE THEY'LL FINISH
Who knows. They could be on the cover of the Record and Guide Book, holding the Cup over their heads, but we don't think so. Not enough goaltending and too much potential for internal combustion will keep the Panthers third in the Southeast and 10th in the East.
BUZZ FACTORStock down. Ownership has done little to re-establish the early credibility the team earned with a surprise run to the 1996 Stanley Cup finals. The Keenan mess (let's start with hiring him as GM months after firing him as coach) merely reinforces the lack of hockey acumen at the very top. Attendance reflects the team's instability.