The Panthers are in a strange spot. You have two ways to go. Keep winning and aim for a wild card or tank for a good draft pick. Many Panther fans would like to keep winning as the draft contains several uncertainties. However knowing Dale Tallon, he will want to make moves to benefit the long term plan, which includes a high draft pick.
Panthers trade Radim Vrbata ($800,000 retained) to the St Louis Blues for a conditional 2018 4th round draft pick (If Vrbata plays 10 games or less totaling the regular season and postseason Florida will instead receive a 5th round pick)
This trade makes sense. The Panthers have had good luck with late round draft picks recently including Maxim Mamin, Denis Malgin and of course Vincent Trocheck a few years back. The Panthers would have to retain salary for this deal to go through. If the Panthers didn’t retain salary it would be just a 6th round pick in 2018 with no strings attached. Vrbata has not played much this year due to health problems and poor performance. Vrbata’s contract will expire at the end of the year. Vrbata could pick up his performance in the Blues bottom 6 and help their depth in a long playoff run.
Panthers trade Jayce Hawryluk to Carolina for Aleski Saarela
Jayce Hawryluk is still in the Panthers minors. Back in 2015-16 he was part of the future core. However he hasn’t played an NHL game yet. Hawryluk will likely not pan out with the Panthers. Aleski Saarela is another Finn. The Panthers want to stockpile Finnish prospects. Saarela has 18 goals and 26 points in the AHL this year. He would be a great addition to the Finnish dominant prospect pool of Henrik Borgstrom, Aleski Heponiemi and others.
I don’t think the Panthers will make any other moves. Springfield will likely make a lot of minor moves however the only one major enough to garner attention would be the Hawryluk trade. What do you all think?