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FHN Florida Panthers Mailbag: NHL Trade Deadline Edition

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Nhl trade

The clock is ticking on another NHL Trade Deadline and the Florida Panthers have already been busy. 

On Wednesday, the team acquired Vladimir Tarasenko from the Ottawa Senators in a lopsided deal.

We shall see what the rest of today brings.

Another batch of great questions from you, our loyal FHN readers. Definitely appreciate all the engagement.

Most of today’s Mailbag surrounds the Trade Deadline.

We will get to a regular Panthers Mailbag in the next couple of weeks.

As for now, here … we … go!

What about Pat Maroon of Wild? Plays a tough game and wouldn’t cost much. Played a tough game for the lightning a few years ago. — Scott W

Yeah, I’m going to say no to that one.

Maroon five years ago? That is a different story. The guy is a champ, however, and his teammates love him. But I don’t think he would find much ice time on this team.

Not liking the idea of trading potential top player in the 2 toughest positions to get stars in. I am hoping that moving possible future #1 goaltender in Knight and Top C of future Lundell is empty chatter. I like both players and feel like developing a few players of our own to compliment and learn from barky, Tkachuk and others is required for sustained future cup hopes. Do you feel either could be moved? — Cory Brolund

I think if the right deal came along, sure. A decision is going to have to be made when it comes to Spencer Knight due to him being due $9 million over the next two seasons — and it’s not the cash, but the cap hit which is a concern — so if something were to come along and blow them away, yeah, I could see something happening there.

With the teresenko trade, who gets squeezed? Or does Paul Maurice rotate guys off each night for “workload management ” while trying to build chemistry? Doesn’t seem likes he’s a big fan of that historically. Thanks for the great coverage as always! — Tony

Thank you Tony. I don’t think anyone in the top-9 is going to get squeezed except, obviously, Nick Cousins. He went from playing on the second line to moving down to the fourth — but that was one of the reasons the Panthers were looking for a top-9 forward in the first place. Cousins brings a lot to the Panthers, no doubt about it. He will still get playing time, just not as much. Jonah Gadjovich also is affected here.

Hello George!
Before suggesting a trade, we should resign the upcoming free agents. My numbers: Reinhart 8.5 x 6 / Montour 6 x 7 / Forsling 6 x 7. What are your numbers?
Trade : I don’t think we need a big name, I believe we need another Swiss Army knife to compete with Rodrigues, someone not afraid to shoot the puck and responsible at defense. Who could that be? — Miguel V

Hello Miguel!

Well, I thought eight years at $6 million was a good number for Forsling and he came in a smidge under. I think Montour probably gets between four and six years at around the same money; Reinhart probably $9.5 million. Can the Panthers make that work? Will the players take it? Stay tuned.

Hi George
I think the team is just fine as it is now. You always need depth, in case of injuries, but at what cost in the future. They have Mahura and Uvis (remember him?) on D, and have Lorentz, Lockwood, and even Mackie for the front line. I stay stand pat….TheXrayDave

Hi Xray

I think you make a good point, but the Panthers are trying to upgrade their team — and they are looking for known commodities. Josh Mahura played in every game last season; if he has to come in, no problem. They dig him. He can do the job. Uvis Balinskis would be fine if he was back in the lineup. I think Mackie Samoskevich would be fine as well. But the Panthers are looking for players they know can do the job. We’ll see what happens today.

Nothing is perfect and there is always room for improvement, BUT – Why bring in someone new at this point? The Cats are playing their best hockey EVER, the team couldn’t be tighter in both camaraderie and in knowing what each other is doing at virtually any moment, and we are at the top of virtually every category available. A new player (and fit is everything) be more of a challenge at this point, especially under the Maurice systems? It took the Cats 4-5 months last season to understand, and this year to solidify. Credit to Zito, but I’d be more concerned about damaging or causing the team to “tilt” with a new person, than the potential gain.

Whelp, my earlier comment about “why change” is now moot, so WHERE DOES TARASENKO actually fit in? No doubt he can score, but will he be the player that makes the difference, or upsets the applecart? — Mark Johnson

He’s not going to upset anything. This room sucks people in (that’s a good thing) and everyone already seems very comfortable with him.

The Panthers are very cognizant about overturning the mango basket (our apples aren’t very good down here) and would not bring someone in just to bring someone in. Trust their process.

George, don’t trade anyone, keep the same crew, save the money pay Rhienhart and raises for others. Go Cats! — Richard Moore

Richard, they’re going to try and improve the team. It’s that simple.

As it stands right now, it looks like our first round opponent would be the Lightning who are also the current favorites to land Noah Hanifin. How do you think that affects that series? Also, I agree with the current sentiment – the Panthers really don’t have any needs that make sacrificing prospects or picks worthwhile. What we do have is some cap space. Can we use that to be a 3rd party in some trades to acquire some draft capital by being a place for someone else to stash salary? — Bryan Geary

Well, Hanifin ended up in Vegas and it is the Lightning helping other teams out. But I do think the Panthers will use some of that cap space to facilitate other deals — just as they did for Carolina in 2022. That is if they don’t spend it all buying candy!

I was hoping we would get Mantha but Vegas beat us to it. Not a trade question, but related regarding rosters. Am I correct that we can bring up our AHL players once the playoffs start? So Knight, Samoskevich, Dalpe etc. can be with the team to add depth. — Dale Huber

Yep, once Charlotte’s season ends, a bunch of those guys will be in Sunrise. There is no salary cap in the playoffs and no roster restrictions, either.

Unlike some of the other comments, I believe the Panthers should stay aggressive in building the team. Zito has made moves that at the time, I thought were crazy but he is the Zen master when it comes to knowing what moves to do and not do. I personally think Spencer Knight should find a home somewhere else where he can get a fresh start with us getting a return on that investment. I don’t know what we could get for him. I love the goaltending we have now. How likely is it we could trade him? — Kevin Hawkey

I do not know if the Panthers want to move on from Knight right now, nor do I think they can move him. Not with that contract. Bill Zito and the Panthers like doing right by their guys and Spencer is a big part of this organization. They’re not going to burn him. People who care about him are watching. If it is strictly a hockey move, or a salary cap move, that is something completely different. That’s part of the game.

Hi George,

With how well the Panthers have been playing on both ends of the ice they really don’t need to do anything. If Florida does look to acquire players will it be in the top 9 forward group or on the blue line ? Also, can you see them take the same route as last year and not break up this group. Don’t see many upgrades out there and if they swing a trade they would have to trade players currently on the roster with no draft capital. Let me know your thoughts

Thanks ! — Michael Thornton

Hi Michael,

Last year, the Panthers did not want to mess with anything as they did not have the draft capital to risk on a team on the bubble and, Anthony Duclair was coming back off injury. I would be surprised if anything crazy happens today. The Panthers don’t really have any draft picks, really, to deal.

I’ve heard Coach Maurice talk about the Panthers’ “hard gap” game. I know what a gap is in hockey, but not sure what is meant by a hard gap. Can you enlighten me, and talk about how this concept fits into the Panthers’ overall style of play? — James Franklin

Good question. The way it has been explained to me is, a ‘hard gap’ is when a defenseman starts in on a skater as soon as they get the puck. Instead of waiting for them to exit the neutral zone and get into the offensive zone — the d-man is on them right away. You can see how that helps the Panthers because they are consistently forcing turnovers and creating some havoc not only from the red line in, but prior to that. It is a very aggressive defensive style and the Panthers have been good at it.

Your top 3 surprises of the year so far? Cant include us being in first because even though it’s impressive, after last year’s playoffs, it’s not a surprise.

Mine:

3. 2024 Bob is the best version we’ve seen of him
2. Reinhardt on the path to over 50 goals
1. How well the cut and paste D gelled and excelled. — Cats and Oilers

This is a terrific list and it is hard to pick a top selection. I think you have them in perfect order. We saw Bobrovsky play out of this world in the playoffs and that has carried over; Reinhart always had it in him to light things up. But this patched-up D corps has been absolutely terrific, and has been since the start of the season. Shows the Panthers had a plan in who they signed. They didn’t just go looking for defensemen who would play for $1 million.

It looks like Zito has done it again!
My understanding is Ottawa retains 50% of Tarasenko’s salary…. And we give up something like a fourth round pick, and a conditional third, or maybe it’s the other way around. Either way the Sens take a bath But we clean up.
Question : slot him on right of Lundell’s line and drop Rodriguez to the fourth line? — Zeke1961

Well, I was told they were going to start him on the third line but I took a stab at dropping Rodrigues down. They did not do either. Even if they did, it was only going to be temporary. Rodrigues is playing really well right now and, I think, by moving Tarasenko up, that opened up a spot for 17 to stay on the third line. They really like that line. They have been great together and it has been a struggle getting that line to click.

Conventional wisdom: Zito doesn’t mess with team chemistry, maybe adds an affordable piece. But what, for example, if Ottawa would trade Brady Tkachuk for Lundell, Mikkola, Knight, Samoskevich, and a 2nd Round pick… tempted?? — @MarkWeber1

Tempted sure. Brady Tkachuk, who I have been told is somehow related to Florida’s Matthew, is a fantastic young player. But that is a giant haul. You’re talking an established top-9 NHL center, good and affordable top-6 defenseman, top goalie prospect, top forward prospect AND a pick?

Not really deadline but have you heard anything about Jack Devine?  Going into his senior season next year — @anouc1

He is having a great year with Denver, with 24 goals and 49 points in 34 games. I have not heard anything about his plans — this is his junior year, as you said, so he should be coming out after this season. If he stays at Denver for his senior year, I would be worried that he would be looking to go the free agent route. After all, he was a seventh-round pick; he has truly outplayed that position.

Who’s coming to & who may be leaving  from the Florida Panthers by Friday’s trade deadline? — @MrEd315

I do not think anyone is going. Will Lockwood went to the minors to make room for Tarasenko, but he will be back.

Assuming Maurice does not want to break up PP unit 1, who do you see Tarasenko replacing on PP unit 2 and in what position does he play? Bumper or left side or…? — @BarryARothman

He was on the left side last night on PP2.

Do you see the Panthers making a move to upgrade the top 6 like a Duclair — @Afoldes81

Tampa Bay got themselves a good one in the Duke.

Forsling for Chychrun? Or something like that? — @Paulg1365

I would do it!

Just kidding…

ON DECK

CALGARY FLAMES @ FLORIDA PANTHERS

  • When: Saturday, 4 p.m.
  • Where: Amerant Bank Arena, Sunrise
  • TV/Streaming: Bally Sports Florida; ESPN+
  • Radio: WPOW 96.5-FM2; WBZT 1230-AM (Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); SiriusXM
  • Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932, NHL App
  • This Season (Flames Lead 1-0) — At Calgary: Flames 3, Panthers 1 (Dec. 18). At Florida: Saturday.
  • Last Season: Calgary Won 2-0
  • All-Time Regular Season Series: Calgary leads 25-11-3, 3 ties

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