The Florida Panthers are kind of an enigma. They are not in need of a rebuild. But they are far from being a contender. What’s wrong? After a hot start their offense burned out. The offense hasn’t been scoring other than Huberdeau, Barkov, Trocheck, Dadonov and occasionally Bjugstad. The defense is better but still makes sloppy plays. The goaltending is inconsistent. What is wrong? To be honest the team needs depth. Jamie McGinn, Radim Vrbata, Jared McCann and Connor Brickley have been unable to replace Jaromir Jagr, Jussi Jokinen, Reilly Smith and Jonathan Marchessault. Although Nick Bjugstad is having a bounceback season it’s not enough. When we score, we can’t play defense. When we are shutting other teams down we can’t score. It’s simple as that. This team is worse off than it was at the end of 2016-17. This team is not making the playoffs. This team doesn’t have a superstar. Aleksander Barkov and Aaron Ekblad are future superstars but they haven’t reached it yet. Trocheck, Huberdeau, Yandle and Dadonov are top tier players but they aren’t superstars. If this team wants to compete they need a legit superstar.
Meanwhile in Ottawa, trade rumors are swirling around franchise defenseman Erik Karlsson. Karlsson is set to become a free agent. I think the Panthers should target him. Karlsson will help the powerplay and can be a cushion while Ekblad develops. Keith Yandle and Michael Matheson will find their roles. Karlsson can change the team. Of course the Panthers will need to pay him. But here is the bottom line: the salary cap is going up. If Vinnie Viola wants to make a profit on this team he will have to spend. Here is an offer I would make to Ottawa:
Alex Petrovic, 2018 1st Round Pick, Radim Vrbata and Jayce Hawryluk in exchange for Karlsson and a conditional 2019 5th round pick.
When this trade is made it will be too late for us to contend for the postseason. So Ottawa gets a high pick. The Panthers dump Petrovic and Vrbata who have not done well. Jayce Hawryluk has flamed out and the Senators like prospects like Hawryluk. Realistically I’m not sure this goes through. I’d probably have to add a 2019 1st rounder. What do you think about this trade. Imagine this lineup in 2018-19:
Extras: Haapala, McCoshen, McGinn