The NHL Trade Deadline is not until March 21, but the rumors have been heating up over the past few weeks. The Florida Panthers, due to their success and standing in the league, are in the thick of those rumors.
A few weeks ago, Jeff Marek and Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet mentioned on their podcast that the Panthers did indeed have serious interest in Arizona defenseman Jakob Chychrun.
Saturday night during Hockey Night in Canada, Marek reported the Panthers have made it known forward Owen Tippett would be available in any potential trade.
The Panthers, as Marek noted, are in “all-in mode, right now for the playoffs,” and the name he continues to hear when it comes to Florida is Tippett.
“The one name, which is coming up consistently, which the Panthers put out as being available, is Owen Tippett,” Marek said.
The Panthers potentially talking about Tippett should not come as any surprise.
Florida, without its upcoming first or second round draft picks, are not exactly flush when it comes to trade capital.
Tippett is a young player with potential, one who is under team control for the next few years.
Florida GM Bill Zito is going to have to give something up something of value — and not just Frank Vatrano’s expiring contract — to make a decent-sized deal go down.
Grigori Denisenko, Florida’s first-round pick in 2018 who is currently playing in Charlotte, would be expected to be included into any mid-to-major sized deal Florida is involved in.
Teams in a rebuild mode are looking for young players with some NHL experience — and plenty of upside — and Tippett certainly checks those boxes.
In his previous report on the Panthers, Marek offered that the Coyotes would want Florida’s Anton Lundell or Spencer Knight — perhaps both — in any deal for Chychrun.
That’s simply not happening.
Lundell is Florida’s future No. 2 center and Knight is the team’s goalie-in-waiting.
It would take a lot for the Panthers to get rid of a player like Knight; Lundell is in untouchable territory.
With the Panthers where they’re at in the standings, it is not shocking to hear Tippett’s name pop up in trade rumors.
As deep as the Panthers run when it comes to forwards, Tippett may be the most attractive of a number of trade candidates.
Tippett, 22, is a restricted free agent following this season so he will need a new contract. But he would be under team control for the next few seasons.
He also has a booming shot teams would like to see on their side of the ice.
The 10th overall pick of the 2017 draft, Tippett is still developing as a player although this season has been a bit of a disappointment.
Tippett ended last season up in the top six and started the season there as well.
For the most part, Tippett has been moved around the lineup.
He has been given a shot to play with Sasha Barkov on the top line with Carter Verhaeghe, but he did not register a point in either of the past two games.
In the second period Saturday, Andrew Brunette moved Jonathan Huberdeau back up with Barkov. Tippett played just 13:47 in a rousing 5-4 overtime win against the Sharks.
Tippett played just five shifts in the third as both he and Anthony Duclair did not see much playing time as Brunette shortened the bench.
In the past two seasons at the NHL level, Tippett has 12 goals and 31 points in 84 games.
Although Tippett is not being actively shopped, with the Panthers open for business, most trade talk is at least opening with him it appears.