Panthers deadline Report
The Florida Panthers made a few moves this trade deadline. Here is my opinion on the deals, the rest of the Panthers season and some things they should do in the offseason.
Of course the big deal the Panthers pulled off was on the trade deadline eve. Pavel Bure and the Panthers 2nd round pick in 2003 was shipped to the New York Rangers for Igor Ulanov, prospect Filip Novak, NYR’s 1st round pick in 2002, an option of their 2nd round pick in 2002 or 2003, and their 4th round pick in 2003. I think that both teams got what they wanted in this deal. Florida got rid of Bure and his $10 mil. a season contract. Also they got rid of his negative attitude in the dressing room. South Florida Sun Sensational reported that not many of the Panthers players were sad to see Bure and his attitude leave. New York on the other hand got a proven goal scorer who will really give their PP a boost. But, they will have to be weary of Bure’s lack of defensive skills. For Florida to win this deal their prospects who they draft (and Novak) will have to become impact players in the NHL level. Also Keenan will have to get through Ulanov’s head until he starts to play a smart, well-rounded defensive game. NYR will win this deal if Bure turns out to be a long-term success in the Big Apple.
Florida made three more moves on the trade deadline. They traded Darren Van Impe to the New York Islanders for a 5th round pick, Jeff Norton to the Boston Bruins for a 6th round pick, and lost Bill Lindsay to the Montreal Canadiens via the waiver wire. All these deals will work out for the best for Florida as they lose some salary and free up roster spots for younger players. I think overall this was a pretty successful deadline week for the club.
The Panthers are realisticly out of the playoff picture with about less than a month away. They may not be in the busy playoff race, but they involved in the covidant title for the #1 pick in the draft. They are fighting with the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Atlanta Thrashers for last place. Really no team likes to lose, but with a playoff spot out of the picture I’m sure the GM’s of these 3 teams all have in the back of their mind that they want that #1 pick this year. I know that even if you do finish last, that still doesn’t mean you will get the first pick, but you do get better odds. The top pick this year would probably be Jay Bowmeester, a very talented defenseman. I doubt that even if the Panthers did get the #1 pick that they would trade it; as they are in a building stage.
The last thing is what should this team do in the offseason. Well Lance Pitlick will be a free agent, (Florida will not re-sign him) and the team will move Trevor Kidd, or be forced to buy out his contract. That would free them up about $15 mil. to spend. There are lots of good UFA’s to-be in the summer. One guy for sure who they will be unable to get as long as Mike Keenan is coaching is Tony Amonte. He really hates Keenan after what he did to him in NYR. They would probably need another defenseman though, as GM Chuck Fletcher cannot convince Svhela to stay in the NHL. I can’t really think of too many good UFA defenseman, but of the few is Colorado Avalanche defenceman Darius Kaspiritus. He plays a very similar game to Svhela, so that would be a perfect fit.
This has been a rough season for the Panthers, but if they make a few moves this summer then they will be well on their way to re-building this franshie.