The Florida Panthers were so busy on Wednesday in the days leading up to the NHL Trade Deadline that general manager Bill Zito had barely slept or eaten.
Florida made two big moves on Wednesday — the first of which helped facilitate the second.
On Wednesday afternoon, the first shoe dropped as the Panthers were able to clear some salary cap space by sending fan — and team — favorite Frank Vatrano to the New York Rangers for a fourth-round draft pick.
Hours later, Zito pulled in big defenseman Ben Chiarot from Montreal. He gave up Florida’s first-round pick in 2023, the fourth New York handed over and prospect Ty Smilanic.
And, as Zito told Florida Hockey Now on Wednesday night, he’s going to keep working those phones.
The Trade Deadline is Monday at 3 p.m.
AROUND THE NHL
Well, let’s just stay in Florida for a bit, shall we.
Both Zito and coach Andrew Brunette said it was tough to see Vatrano have to go but that is part of the business. And Vatrano knows it.
By going to the Rangers, Vatrano is going to be joining a challenger — and a team where he may be able to show off his goods a little more than he was on Florida’s fourth line (or not at all).
Vatrano is going in a contract year and is playing for next season’s deal. This is a trade which probably helps out both sides.
— Got any pressing questions about the Panthers heading into the Trade Deadline? Due to the heavy volume of work Wednesday offered, I am moving the deadline FHN Mailbag questions until Thursday at 4 p.m.
CLICK HERE to leave your questions in the comment section, check the FHN Facebook page or hit me at Twitter using the #AskGR hash.
The Mailbag is now scheduled to run Friday.
— In case you missed it, Chiarot is not expected to join the Panthers for either of their final games on this road trip.
So, his Florida debut is most likely going to come in Montreal against his old Canadien pals.
— Hear from Chiarot as he spoke to Sportsnet before the trade went down.
— The Panthers weren’t the only ones making deals on Wednesday: The Calgary Flames acquired forward Calle Jarnkrok from Seattle. Calgary gave up three picks: a second-round (2022), third (2023) and seventh (2024).
— Tonight will likely be the Philly farewell for Flyers captain Claude Giroux as he celebrates his 1,000th game. Is Florida still in the mix?
— Is Tyler Bertuzzi on the trade market with the Detroit Red Wings?
— Tomas Hertl is no longer on the market — was he really, though? — after signing an eight-year contract extension ($8.1375) with the San Jose Sharks.
— It sounds like Jakob Chychrun will miss the next couple of weeks for the Coyotes. That’s good news.
FLORIDA PANTHERS ON DECK
FLORIDA PANTHERS AT VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS
- When: Thursday, 10:30 p.m.
- Where: T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas
- Tickets: CLICK HERE
- TV/Streaming: Bally Sports Florida
- Radio: WQAM 560-AM, SiriusXM
- Last season: Did not play
- All-time regular season series: Vegas leads 4-2-1
- Season Series — Florida leads 1-0: @Florida 4, Vegas 1 (Jan. 27)