Just because the NBA trade deadline came and went with little fanfare that does not mean that the NHL trade deadline also has to be a dud, right?
Last week we explored potential deals the Miami Heat could have made – but didn’t – so this week we’re calling on the help of some hockey aficionados to put on their general manager hats and gives us what their plans would be if they had complete control of the Florida Panthers.
Better act fast, the NHL trade deadline is March 1st.
Today’s plan comes from CBS Miami’s David Dwork. Dwork is a sports junkie, turned journalist. He is the author of the Dwork On Sports Blog, a weekend hockey warrior and he has covered the Florida Panthers for CBS Miami for a handful of years now.
“The Florida Panthers head into the 2017 NHL Trade Deadline in a very precarious position.
The team struggled for much of the season but had several key players missing from the lineup.
Aleksander Barkov, Nick Bjugstad, Jussi Jokinen and Alex Petrovic have all missed time, and top line winger Jonathan Huberdeau did not make his season debut until early February.
Now finally healthy, getting Barkov, Huberdeau, Bjugstad and Petrovic back on the ice within a few games of each other, the question is whether the Panthers want to see how the season plays out with their intended roster or make a couple of moves to tweak a lineup that frankly, nobody is sure of its potential.
It seemed after a five-game win streak, all on the road, that Florida was hitting its stride.
Three straight home losses later, and within 24 hours of the trade deadline, it is a difficult decision for the Panthers front office to make.
Meanwhile, the rest of the NHL has been very busy in the two days leading up to the deadline.
Several trades have already been made and the rumor mill is swirling, throwing out lots of names and potential destinations.
As has been the case for much of the season, the Panthers have barely been mentioned in any of the rumors.
Panthers President of Hockey Operations Dale Tallon and interim Head Coach and General Manager Tom Rowe have given the impression that Florida would not be busy at the deadline but would be open to the right moves.
Tallon has previously said that he’d like to get the team some power play help, but that was before Florida’s man advantage unit began producing at an over 30 percent pace we’ve seen over the past several games.
Patrick Sharp is always a name that gets mentioned around Tallon and the Panthers, and young Sabres forward Zemgus Girgensons was also thrown around on Tuesday.
Considering how active the league has been leading up to the deadline, especially teams that Florida is competing with for a playoff spot, it will be interesting to see how Tallon and Rowe handle the deadline.
Heading into Tuesday’s game the Panthers sit three points back of the second Wild Card and four points back of third place in the Atlantic Division.
With 21 games to go, Florida certainly has a good chance of jumping back into the postseason and winning their first playoff series in over 20 years.”
Follow David Dwork on Twitter @DavidDwork