Break brings rest, rumors for Florida Panthers

The Panthers go into the Olympic break on a six-game skid, with plenty of uncertainty surrounding the team.
BY GEORGE RICHARDS

Panthers coach Pete DeBoer spoke to the media following Saturday night’s 3-2 shootout loss to the visiting Bruins and spoke about the future.

The Panthers won’t have a chance to end their season-high, six-game losing streak for a couple of more weeks because of the Olympic break. When they return to practice on Feb. 24, most of the roster is expected to be there participating.

DeBoer talked about the break being beneficial to players such as Stephen Weiss, David Booth and Nathan Horton.

“The more time off they have, the better they’re going to be,” DeBoer said. “We wanted to get into the Olympic break in a [certain] spot . . . to get through the injuries and get Booth and Horton back and challenge for a spot. We’re a little further out than I would like, but it’s been a tough few weeks.”

When the Panthers next play March 2 at Atlanta, could a few of Florida’s top players be somewhere else?

General manager Randy Sexton and the team’s managing partners have said major changes needed to be made for the Panthers to be a legitimate playoff contender. Those statements seem to go farther than the Panthers just being sellers at the trading deadline. Players like Dennis Seidenberg, Gregory Campbell, Kamil Kreps and Jordan Leopold have expiring contracts and could expect to be dealt.

To make a big splash Sexton might have to deal away some bigger fish — as Weiss, Horton, Booth and goalie Tomas Vokoun would bring back more of a haul. Of course, the bigger names would likely bring more in the summer when teams aren’t fighting for a playoff spot and can give up more.

The Panthers aren’t worrying about what management is saying or calling the moving vans just yet. If a trade happens, they will deal with itthen.

http://www.miamiherald.com/sports/hockey/story/1480549.html


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