After run to Stanley Cup Final, Panthers’ Anton Lundell ‘more hungry than ever’ for Year 3

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Anton Lundell doesn’t need too much motivation nowadays for the Florida Panthers’ upcoming season.

A run to the Stanley Cup Final — and being a key contributor to that playoff run — in your second season in the NHL will do that.

So forget about the short offseason and the limited recovery time. Lundell is ready to get back on the ice and get Year 3 with the Panthers underway.

“It wasn’t too long but I guess we all still have some hunger from the playoffs — me for sure,” Lundell said Wednesday at loanDepot park, where the Miami Marlins held Panthers Night. “I am more hungry than ever to get back, to play some hockey again.”

Especially with how Lundell performed in the playoffs.

Over 21 postseason games, Lundell scored two goals and dished out eight assists to go along with a plus-minus rating of plus-3, meaning the Panthers outscored opponents by three goals when Lundell was on the ice at even strength or in shorthanded situations.

Lundell was one of eight Panthers players with at least 10 points in the playoffs, joining Matthew Tkachuk (24), Carter Verhaeghe (17), Aleksander Barkov (16), Sam Bennett (15), Brandon Montour (13), Sam Reinhart (13) and Anthony Duclair (11).

It served as a major confidence boost for the 21-year-old Lundell, especially after an inconsistent regular season in which he logged just 33 points (12 goals, 21 assists) while playing a variety of roles with Florida’s forward group.

“You get a chance to play even more and you want to take it,” Lundell said. “In the playoffs, we’re playing against all of the best players. I’m trying to learn from the playoffs and from the season. During the summer, I’ve been thinking about what I can do better and how I could be better, but at the end of the day, it’s just all about putting the work in and trusting that it’s going to come with results.”

On a team with the likes of Barkov and Tkachuk along with high-flying scorers like Verhaeghe, Lundell can get lost in the mix when it comes to the Panthers’ forwards.

But his two-way game made him an instant contributor as a rookie two years ago and has him playing in all situations for a talent-rich, offensive-minded Panthers team.

That said, Lundell knows he’s far from a finished product and is ready to continue his development. Training camp starts Sept. 21, and the regular season begins three weeks after that.

“I think I can grow a lot,” Lundell said. “Be stronger, faster and even in games just keep growing on where I ended the season, being a key player for the team, be able to play every position. When we need a goal or when we need to defend a one-goal lead, just be an all-around player that the coach can put in whenever.”