Although it appears as if Bill Zito and the Florida Panthers are done working for the summer, could Vladimir Tarasenko remain a possibility to come to Sunrise?
Zito has already done the heavy lifting this offseason, acquiring a number of players — including defensemen Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Dmitry Kulikov as well as forward Evan Rodrigues.
But with Tarasenko still out there, it begs the questions whether the Panthers could grab the talented winger.
It would take some serious work, but Zito and his front office have worked their magic late in the summer before.
Just last year, for instance, the Panthers pulled off a blockbuster deal which brought Matthew Tkachuk to town.
Tarasenko is another high-end player who, as of this publishing, has yet to find a home.
To make something like this work, Tarasenko would have to want to come to the Panthers at a discount price.
Florida is up against the salary cap but with the probability Aaron Ekblad and/or Brandon Montour start the season on long-term injured reserve giving the Panthers some cap relief up until said player returns to the lineup.
That at least gives the Panthers a little time to figure things out.
Of course, would Tarasenko be willing to trade some up-front money now to sign with a contender?
According to Larry Brooks of the New York Post, Tarasenko has already turned down contract offers in the $6 million range which, if that is still too low for him, Florida is out of the running.
Have learned that Tarasenko had multiple offers from clubs ranging from contenders to rebuilds in the $5.5-to-$6M per category at varying lengths. Rejected all—Carolina was one—and then fired agent. Kind of strange. (Had wanted to remain with Rangers but there was simply no space
— Larry Brooks (@NYP_Brooksie) July 5, 2023
But, if he were willing to gamble a bit and take something along the lines of $4 million with the understanding more would come next year when the salary cap goes up, perhaps the Panthers could be a player.
It is a long shot, sure, but Tarasenko could find success with the Panthers and parlay that into a big deal either here or somewhere else in 2024.
Tarasenko is 31, but when healthy, is one of the top scorers in the league.
After spending the entirety of his career in St. Louis, he was acquired in a big deal with the New York Rangers at the deadline where he scored 10 goals with 29 points in 38 games.
He would have liked to stay with the Rangers but their cap issues have kept that from happening.
At the end of the day, Tarasenko will likely go to a team which can pay him something close to what he wants — probably on a one-year deal allowing him to go fishing in deeper waters next summer.
FLORIDA PANTHERS ON DECK
- Now: Free agency period is open
- Mid-September: Training Camp, South Florida
- Sept. 25: Preseason starts; Doubleheader v. Nashville @ Sunrise
- Oct. 7: Preseason ends; v. Tampa Bay Lightning @ Sunrise
- Oct. 12: Start of 2023-24 Regular Season at Minnesota Wild
- Oct. 19: 2023-24 Home Opener vs. Toronto Maple Leafs