In an otherwise bleak season, the Panthers hope they have seen glimpses of the future offensively in the recent play of Evgeny Dadonov.
With more than $30 million to spend just to get to the league-mandated, salary-cap floor this summer, the Panthers are expected to go after offensive-minded players either through trade or free agency.
But with most — if not all — of the league’s top players locked into contracts, the Panthers are going to have to develop scoring through what they have as well.
The Panthers think they have a real keeper in the 22-year-old Russian winger.
“We’re looking for top-two-line forwards in the organization, guys with skill who play the right way,’’ coach Pete DeBoer said. “Winning teams have that. . . . The reality is you can’t sign four of five of those guys because they’re just not out there. He has that kind of potential. He can fit in in one of those roles. He just needs to keep developing.’’
It took Dadonov a little while to make it to the Panthers. After coming into his first training camp last year out of shape, the Panthers stashed him with their AHL affiliate in Rochester, N.Y., until the end of the season, finally calling him up with four games left.