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Florida Panthers Trade for Star Vladimir Tarasenko

The Florida Panthers have traded for star forward Vladimir Tarasenko in a move that could give the team the edge in their pursuit of the Cup. The former Ottawa Senators skater adds to the Cats scoring ability and could boost any line he plays on. The Panthers sent a 2025 3rd Round Pick and a Conditional 2024 4th Round Pick in return.

Florida Panthers Trade for NHL Star

Missing Piece Within the Atlantic Division

The Panthers have been cruising through the regular season ever since December. As they climbed up on the NHL Standings the focus shifted slowly but steadily towards the postseason. Sitting in first place in the entire league, the Panthers feel as confident as any that this could be their year. They believed that in the 2021-22 season, but they learned a horrible yet undeniable truth: the Stanley Cup cannot be won in March or April. However, this time something feels different. The team is not winning the high-scoring, fast-paced hockey games by fine margins. The Panthers are no longer the flashy hockey team that all NHL fans want to watch, they are a juggernaut by different means. The Cats are dominating and bullying every opponent they face. Many fans do not want to watch the Panthers because they do not play “nice”, they play to win. But even the most consistent team in the NHL  fears the monster that exists in playoff hockey. Even they need reassurance. And in Tarasenko the Panthers believe they found theirs.

The Panthers are currently on a six-game win streak. They are returning home to South Florida following back-to-back Ws at Madison Square Garden and New Jersey. And when touching down at Fort Lauderdale’s airport, everybody will be thrilled to wait for Tarasenko’s arrival. The Stanley Cup Champion with the St. Louis Blues adds to this team’s scoring depth and brings in more experience. Although this group gained lots of it during last season’s Finals run, Tarasenko could add the finishing touch to a team built for immediate success. The Panthers have brought in a key factor that could very well fit into any top-nine and boost that line.

A Spot Tailored for Tarasenko

The options are plenty. The Florida Panthers trade for star Vladimir Tarasenko is filled with alternatives for his usage. Whether he plays on the first line along with Aleksander Barkov and Sam Reinhart. Or on the second with Matthew Tkachuk and Sam Bennett. His impact should be very immediate. Moreover, Tarasenko could slide into the third line with Anton Lundell and Eetu Luostarinen and give the two Finnish youngsters a reliable and veteran goalscorer.

On paper, Tarasenko seems to be a master key who will work wherever Paul Maurice needs him to. Even the Panthers power play, which is working soundly at the moment, could benefit and thrive even more with this addition. Right now, the Cats are in a comfortable spot where they can experiment a bit with their lineup. Pieces can be moved in order to find the optimum results heading to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The move was quite cheap for GM Bill Zito, who sent a 2nd rounder and a conditional 4th in exchange for one of the top players on the trade market. Whether the rental is worth it will be known when it is all said and done for the 2023-24 season. The shop is still open, though. The Panthers could still make some moves to strengthen their defence, it is not a need but more of a want. If a team comes calling with a great asset, Zito could make some magic occur. Will the Panthers make another headline?

A Wagon Approaching Postseason

The Panthers are star-studded. But their mentality is far from it. They work hard and play even harder. All 18 skaters are willing to clench their teeth and go to work on the corners or run the extra mile. Many teams cannot keep up with that style, and that is when they lose their temper. And that is just what the doctor ordered for the Cats. Chippy, confident, and absurdly good at hockey. That is the Panthers’ style. And it came out in full display on their most recent road trip. First stop at Detroit, the Cats shut out the Red Wings and got under their skin with ease. The Cats have won nine of their last 10 games at Little Caesar’s Arena, and the home crowd has grown a hatred for the mighty Panthers.

The Cats did not slow down when traveling to the Big Apple and defeated the Rangers in one of the most anticipated matchups in the NHL Universe. Captain Barkov stole the show and took the spotlight of Matt Rempe, pulling off an assist that had the Modern Museum of Art asking for its price. Not fulfilled with that, they kept their foot on the pedal when playing at Jersey the following night.

The Panthers return home having put the league on notice. This team is a wagon. Nevertheless, nobody on the team is hanging any medals around their neck, or raising any banners. The work is not finished, it barely started. While fans worry over the Presidents Trophy Curse and whether being the best team in the league is worth it or not, the Cats stay cruising. Anything can happen come playoff time, but one thing is certain: every team would rather face a different opponent.

Main Photo: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports


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