The New Jersey Devils showed just how valuable a fourth line can be as the trio of Steve Bernier, Ryan Carter and Stephen Gionta combined for 10 goals and 21 assists to help Pete DeBoer's squad reach the Stanley Cup Finals last summer.
The Panthers can only hope to have such success with an all-new fourth unit this season as newcomer George Parros joins center Jarred Smithson and left winger Jack Skille.
Coincidentally, Carter played for the Panthers before being waived last season; Bernier was let go by the Panthers after the 2010-11 season.
Although Skille and Smithson were with the Panthers last year, they never played together as Skille was out with a shoulder injury when Smithson came over in a trade with Nashville.
Despite the newness of the group, the trio looks like they've been playing together for a long time.
"They are big bodies and they all can skate,'' coach Kevin Dineen said. "They give us some heftiness which you like to have. You can have a lot of big guys, but if they can't skate, you're going to be in trouble. I like that each of them can play a specific role and they've developed a little chemistry.''
Said Skille: "We all play north-south hockey and don't take too many risks. We want to be an energy line and keep things simple. We're going to use our body, amp the team up.''
Last season was a frustrating one for as he was shelved three different times due to a shoulder injury and was limited to 46 games. The final injury, which came on March 9, knocked him out for the rest of the season and cost him trip to the playoffs.
Skille said Thursday that the shoulder felt good as he played a little during the lockout in Norway to test it out. Skille also worked out at the University of Wisconsin and came into camp in excellent shape.
"I was ready to go but I used the [lockout] time to my advantage,'' Skille said. "I really gave my shoulder a good test in Norway. Then I worked on things I need to be better at.''