With Aleksander Barkov missing his third straight game, the question starting to rise is, how serious is the Barkov Injury? Officially, the Panthers have not put their captain on IR. This is increasingly becoming a possibility with his continued absence. What does this mean for the team moving forward?
Short-Term – Offense
Nobody questions the offensive capabilities of Barkov. He continues to put up solid numbers, even though most of the league forgets about him. So far this season, Barkov has a solid 54 points in 50 games. He is also coming off his best season ever last year, where he put up 96 points, playing in all 82 games. This tells us two major things: 1. Barkov is durable, so if he is missing time, he is really injured. 2. Barkov is consistently producing offense, so his absence will hurt every night he is not on the ice.
Long-Term – Playoff Picture
The Florida Panthers currently sit one point up on the Toronto Maple Leafs for the last playoff spot in the Atlantic Division. Florida do have a game in hand, and this may prove vital. The long and short of this is that Florida will be in a battle to the very end to secure that last playoff spot. Every single game is going to matter from this point forward. Having one of your most consistent producers out of the lineup threatens the Panthers playoff position. Just last night, the Panthers lost 1-0 in OT to the Columbus Blue Jackets. Having Barkov and his point per game play may have made a difference in this game. That one or two extra points could mean everything.
Solution – Find Offense
The trade deadline at the end of the month is fast approaching, so the question of how serious is the Barkov injury needs answering. If it is so that Barkov is seriously hurt, the Panthers need to make a move. The solution to the Barkov injury might be the key to this whole season. The Panthers do not get too many cracks at the Stanley Cup Playoffs, so this season cannot be wasted. That’s why a move will need to be made if Barkov is going to miss any more time. He provides too much for this team, and his production cannot be replaced from within.
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