With less than three weeks until this season’s trade deadline, the Florida Panthers find themselves in unusual territory. As one of the teams at the top of the standings, the Panthers could see themselves becoming buyers this year. With one of the best teams ever rostered in Sunrise, this may be the perfect year for the ‘Cats’ to go all-in on an attempt to make a genuine push for the Stanley Cup. While the deadline always sparks excitement and some overzealous fans who come up with the “perfect” trade scenario. We are here to examine some possible Florida Panthers trade deadline acquisitions.
Navigating the Trade Deadline for the Florida Panthers
As mentioned above, the Panthers haven’t been in a position like this before. Currently, they are third in the Discover Central Division with 44 points. That’s over ten points separating them from both the fifth and sixth place Columbus Blue Jackets and Nashville Predators. They also have a game in hand on both of them. Even with the team missing one of the Selke front-runners in Aleksander Barkov, this is not the time to be pressing the panic button. All teams battle through different situations like an injury. If the Panthers cannot overcome this, they don’t deserve to make the playoffs anyway, but I digress.
Moving forward, thanks to Bill Zito, the Panthers have become a much harder team to play against. They have more depth than ever before. Their transition game and their defensive-zone structure are second to none compared to last season. Yet, nothing is perfect, and neither is this team. As we approach the deadline, many rumours have come around the team chasing after Taylor Hall or Patrik Laine. Honestly, neither of these guys is the answer, with both players coming off expiring contracts, where they will end up asking for more than they deserve. If the Panthers are going to shake up this team in any way, it needs to be something worth it. They should not just grab a flashy name that will bring more eyes to the team and cost more money.
Florida Panthers Trade Deadline Options
Once things start to heat up surrounding the deadline, the Panthers should be in the market for even more depth. More specifically, someone in the center position would be nice. Simultaneously, a defensive-pair of Gustav Forsling and Radko Gudas may not be the best thing to go into the Stanley Cup playoffs with. It’s not the worst thing, either. But, if they could only go after one position, a centre would be ideal.
With that, anyone is an option for the right price. While the Panthers could go after Conor Garland or Pavel Buchnevich, it is uncertain if their respective clubs would shop. Instead, we will be going off of TSN’s Trade Bait board, The Athletics trade board, or any other concrete thoughts, words, or ideas.
Shall we begin?
First, on the list, we have Mikael Granlund. It seems like for the past three or four Trade Deadlines, Granlund’s name is always on this list, yet he never moved. Will this be the year he becomes a deadline pick-up? While it’s hard to say without being able to see into the future. He would be an excellent addition as a second centre. Even though his points have declined, his possession numbers are the best they have been. His Corsi For percentage at 53.9 right now. Which is significantly better than his career average of 50.4 percent. As a guy who knows how to dish the puck, placing him on a team like Florida could spark something in him, again. Adding Granlund would allow for Alexander Wennberg to move down to the third centre position. He is giving the Panthers a solid central core up the middle.
Moving along, Sam Bennett could arguably be the best option for the Panthers. Bennett’s stock is down, even though he is only 24-years old. He is playing some of his worst hockey in his seven-year career. Not that Bennett is a bad player or anything, but guys have down years. It is always tricky when it happens, but it does happen. Yet, it is his overall game that makes him so attractive. This man is built for the playoffs. He plays physically, is unafraid to get in anyone’s face, and is a true team guy through and through. Adding Bennett to the line-up would make the team even harder to play against. While giving him a fresh breathe of air with Joel Quenneville, who works well with young guys.
Next on this list is Alexander Kerfoot. With the Toronto Maple Leafs, Kerfoot could use a change of scenery considering who’s on that team. Now I’ll admit, this is a little out of the left-field, but it could help the Panthers with the expansion draft. If the Panthers were to grab Kerfoot at the Deadline, he could be an excellent third-line centre. He is a good player but better in the defensive zone. With two years left on his deal, at a reasonable price, too, acquiring him could allow the team to protect someone else in the expansion draft.
Last but certainly not least on the Florida Panthers Trade Deadline options list. Columbus Blue Jackets defenceman David Savard would be a dream to add to the Panthers blue-line. This would be the hardest of the four deals to make. As a significant piece to the Blue Jacket back-end, it will cost a ton to get. Especially with the Blue Jackets only two points out of a playoff spot. Now some money would have to come off the books to make this one work. But, I’m sure the Blue Jackets would be delighted with one of the Panther’s many prospects they have. As a shutdown defenseman, Savard would make the Panthers blue-line like a brick wall. Helping both their goaltenders in the long run.
In Conclusion, as always, we never know what is going to happen come to the Deadline. But, if the Panthers believe they genuinely are Stanley Cup contenders, they need to move at the deadline. Not just any move but the right move. With this season possibly being the best bet for the Panthers, they should not shy away from anything to win a Stanley Cup finally.