Barkov, Huberdeau in practice (even no-contact) welcome sight for Panthers
As much as some want to hand the Florida Panthers a failing grade during a season of what’s believed to be a serious push toward analytics, injury concerns may justify a mark of “Incomplete.”
They’ve been without key players for huge chunks of 2016-17, most notably Jonathan Huberdeau and Aleksander Barkov. (Nick Bjugstad missed a considerable amount of time, as well.)
While the cranky among us might wonder if this will ultimately be “too little, too late,” the Panthers got a welcome sight as Huberdeau and Barkov practiced on Monday, albeit in yellow no-contact jerseys.
Their reactions were very positive to Jameson Olive of the team’s website, too.
“I feel like I’m pretty close,” Huberdeau said.
Barkov, meanwhile, feels better every day and hopes to play soon.
Then again, it might be wise to keep optimism in check.
Jonathan Huberdeau says he feels good but Achilles still needs strengthening...— George Richards (@GeorgeRichards) January 30, 2017
Huberdeau, 23, hasn’t played a single game this season after setting career-highs for goals (20) and points (59) in 2015-16. Barkov, 21, has 27 points in 36 games but hasn’t suited up in 2017.
The Panthers would need to make quite the push to rally into the playoffs this season. Such a thought seems at least a bit more reasonable if those key young scorers can get back into the lineup in the near future.