With the NHL Draft starting Wednesday and free agency opening Saturday at noon, trade season is officially upon us.
Monday, the Boston Bruins freed up some valuable salary cap space — perhaps to keep Tyler Bertuzzi — by sending Taylor Hall to the Blackhawks for a couple of depth defensemen.
Chicago also got the negotiating rights to Nick Foligno which, if they keep him, give them some needed veteran voices in the room for newcomer Connor Bedard — whom the Blackhawks will make the No. 1 pick in Nashville tomorrow night.
With so many teams up against the salary cap and not too many great free agents available, expect a lot more trades not only today but all the way into Saturday.
The Florida Panthers are a team expected to be a player on the NHL trade market despite not having a whole lot of draft capital to play with.
Bill Zito and the rest of the Panthers’ front office is at NHL Central in Nashville as we speak, so, we’ll keep an eye out.
FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW
Edmonton’s Connor McDavid came in first with Boston’s David Pastrnak placing second.
For the second consecutive season — but first with the Panthers — Tkachuk was named All-NHL second team.
— Who is going where? The NHL Draft starts Wednesday night and here is our best guess at where players will end up.
— Anton Lundell was impressive in this playoff run for the Florida Panthers and that can only bode well for the future.
— Anthony Duclair is paying it back here in South Florida with a youth hockey camp in Coral Springs.
— The Florida Panthers announced their preseason schedule. It looks pretty familiar.
— Happy Anniversary to the Florida Panthers and Paul Maurice. It has been a year since the Panthers officially introduced Maurice as their new head coach and, despite some rocky moments during the season, it was a move which worked out for both sides.
— Bill Zito says he wants to keep the Panthers as intact as possible, but is that possible? Looks like Radko Gudas could get better offers elsewhere — and may have to take one of them. We’ll see.
— Speaking of Zito and the Panthers, injuries and pending contract extensions could slow their roll when it comes to free agency — which opens Saturday at noon.
— Spencer Knight is working on and off the ice at his home in Connecticut with Zito saying the two have remained in contact. The Panthers expect him to be back with the team in the fall — if not before then.
— Don’t forget to subscribe to the FHN YouTube Channel RIGHT HERE to see all of the videos from the Panthers’ offseason all in one place.
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Not only is there a ton of video following Game 5 from Paul Maurice, Sergei Bobrovsky and Sasha Barkov, but there is a lot of exit day video from Aaron Ekblad and Matthew Tkachuk as well.
Bill Zito video from last Wednesday afternoon is up as well.
Thanks again for watching these all season long.
More coming from the draft and free agency this week.
NATIONAL HOCKEY NOW
It was a good night for the Boston Bruins at the NHL Awards on Monday night.
— Kris Letang won the Masterton Trophy, a fitting tribute to the Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman.
— The Philadelphia Flyers have a blockbuster NHL trade on hold as Torey Krug will not waive his no-trade for a rebuild off Broad Street.
— Adin Hill is close to getting a nice new deal with the Vegas Golden Knights.
— Erik Karlsson says there are a lot of teams trying to get him. Could the Panthers be in on it? More on the San Jose Sharks trade talks.
FLORIDA PANTHERS ON DECK
- Wednesday/Thursday: NHL Draft, Nashville (Florida has picks in Rounds 2, 4, 5, 6 & 7)
- Friday: Buyout period ends
- Saturday: Free agency opens, noon
- Mid-September: Training Camp, South Florida
- Sept. 25: Preseason starts, doubleheader v. Nashville @ Sunrise
- Oct. 7: Preseason ends, vs. Tampa Bay Lightning
- Mid-October: Start of 2023-24 Regular Season