Three Florida Panthers Trades Before the Deadline

Florida Panthers Trades

Goals, goals, goals! Just not in our own net. 

That is the mantra for the Florida Panthers right now.

The Panthers have been absolutely brilliant in filling the back of their opponent’s nets this season. They’re averaging a ridiculous 4.12 goals-for per game which is good for first in the NHL. But when it comes to keeping the puck out of their own net, they’ve been much less successful.

The Panthers have a pedestrian 2.88 goals-against average. That puts them in the middle of the pack (14th) in the NHL.

Heading into trade season, it’s clear the need for the Florida Panthers is to bolster their blueline and get harder to score against.

Let’s take a look at three potential trade targets Florida could acquire to help them down the stretch.

Three Players the Florida Panthers Could Target by the Deadline

Mark Giordano (D)

UFA. 6.75 Million Cap Hit

Getting Giordano from the Seattle Kraken has got to be near the top of Bill Zito’s list for targets this deadline.

The former Norris-trophy winner is an immediate upgrade to their blue line. And the addition of him on this roster provides a brilliant “trickle-down” effect for the rest of the defensive corps. 

You see, Florida is currently struggling with the defensive pairings they are operating with. They have a couple of players who are playing outside their comfort zones and it’s showing. Not looking to knock on these guys, but their talents are much better suited in different roles on the blue line. 

So, by adding Giordano, you get to slide him up on the left side of the first unit with Aaron Ekblad. Giordano, even at 38, can still be a minute-muncher.

With Gio on the first unit, we can now slide MacKenzie Weegar down to the second unit on the RIGHT side. He plays both sides. And that move allows Florida to bump Radko Gudas to the third pairing. A place much more suited for his skillset.

With Florida being tight up against the cap, this deal has to either be a money-in, money-out deal or Seattle will need to retain some salary. They can retain up to three more contracts, so Kraken’s general manager, Ron Francis, may be inclined to do so if Zito can sweeten the pot.

Potential Trade

Mark Giordano (50% retained) for Frank Vatrano (UFA. 2.533 million cap hit) and Chase Priski (UFA. 750k cap hit) 2023 4th round pick

Leaves Florida with 374k in cap space.

Jakob Chychrun (D)

4.6 Million Cap Hit Through 2024/25 Season

The Arizona Coyotes defenceman has been one of the most talked-about trade pieces this season. With the Coyotes in rebuild mode, and feeling Chychrun could fetch a king’s ransom, the young defenceman is actively being shopped. 

Having spent his entire six-year career on weak rosters in Arizona, we don’t have much of a clear indication of exactly how good he can be. 

Obviously, the talent is there, and acquiring him with term on a cap-friendly deal is what has most general managers around the league licking their lips. 

But it’s still going to be a gamble. And an expensive one at that. Is this what Florida needs to make the push in the ultra-competitive Eastern Conference? Many think so.

Potential Trade

Jakob Chychrun for Owen Tippett (RFA. 863k cap hit), Lucas Carlsson (RFA. 750k cap hit), Frank Vitrano (UFA. 2.533 million cap hit), 2023 first round pick. 

Leaves Florida with 0.012k in cap space.

Joel Armia (RW/LW) and Shea Weber (D)

Armia – 3.4 Million Cap Hit Through 2024-25

Weber – 7.857 Million Cap Hit Through 2025-26 (LTIR)

Protecting the net isn’t just a job for the goalie and defencemen. Having forwards who play strong 200 foot games is paramount in the playoffs. You need the guys who can get into the grimy places and grind it out for scoring goals and preventing them.

Joel Armia is a Swiss-army knife and could be quite versatile in head coach Andrew Brunette‘s lineup. His performance this season doesn’t warrant the price tag but in fairness, no one on Montreal has been all that stellar this season.

With raises coming to Aleksander Barkov and Carter Verhaeghe next season, Bill Zito will need to get creative if he wishes to maintain the depth his team currently boasts. Bundling Armia with Shea Weber’s 7.857 cap hit on the LTIR, isn’t a bad place to start. Plus, it’ll allow the Panthers to make an extra splash on a UFA (Giordano??) this trade deadline.

Bill Zito would still have his work cut out for him in the offseason to make the numbers work for the 2022-23 season. But that is the future Zito’s problem. Right now, Zito and the Panthers are going for a Cup!

Potential Trade

Joel Armia and Shea Weber for Lucas Carlsson (RFA. 750k cap hit) Max Gildon (853k through 2022-23) and a 2023 first-round pick.

Leaves Florida with 4.173 million in cap space*

*This number is not exact. This would be the most amount available depending on how close to the cap ceiling Florida could get before making this deal.

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