Reilly Smith

Five things the Panthers need to reach the playoffs

Five things the Panthers need to reach the playoffs

The Panthers weren't eliminated from a 2015 playoff berth until the 79th game of the 82-game season.

However, getting close doesn't mean much to a fan base for a team that has made the playoffs just four times in its 21-year history.

That said, the Panthers did improve by a league-best 25 points last season (91 points). Their combination of experienced veterans with blossoming young players has bred optimism in the locker room, as well as throughout the hockey world, with several major publications predicting the Panthers will reach the postseason this time.

General Manager Dale Tallon barely tweaked the roster other than shedding declining free agents and trading for...

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