The Florida Panthers stood pat at the trade deadline despite being linked to big names such as Ryan McDonuagh and Max Pacorietty. With the injury of Denis Malgin and including the fact that Columbus got a boost plus it is late in the season, it is very unlikely that the Panthers will compete for the Stanley Cup this spring. However there are some positives but there are also negatives. Let’s get the negatives out of the way first.
Columbus takes a splash
The biggest con of the deadline was that the Blue Jackets made a splash by getting Ian Cole and Thomas Vanek. The Panthers along with the Islanders, Hurricanes and Red Wings are locked in a stiff battle to claim the second wildcard spot occupied by Columbus. Although Columbus has 7 points in hand on the Panthers, the Cats have a lot more breathing room than their competitors with 4 games in hand. Columbus’s additions will help them clinch a playoff spot. This could be the kick that Columbus needs to keep the wild card spot. With the Atlantic division impossible for the bottom 5 teams to reach, this is a major blow to other teams in the wildcard race.
This deadline however has a lot more pros.
Prospect pool Intact
If the Panthers had made a trade for a star it would’ve likely come at the cost of their top prospect in Henrik Borgstrom. Borgstrom is the team’s best prospect to play in different leagues after he was drafted since Jonathan Huberdeau (Barkov and Ekblad jumped directly to the NHL). Borgstrom is a skilled forward who is lighting up Denver and is in contention for the Hobey Baker Award. The past two winners Will Butcher and Jimmy Vesey jumped directly into the NHL. Players such as Johnny Gaudreau’s careers took off after winning this award. The Panthers don’t want to trade the Finn. He would be a valuable addition to the lineup. The Panthers have several good prospects in their pool as well and they didn’t give up any.
Since it is unlikely the Panthers make the playoffs, they will get a good draft pick. They could use the draft pick to add an addition to arguably the worst defensive prospect system after Mike Matheson, Aaron Ekblad and others graduated to the NHL. Several defensemen including Rasmus Dahlin are avaliable. If they do draft Dahlin, he will likely jump to the NHL. However any other defender other than Dahlin could help out in Springfield. Not to mention that we could add another talented Finn such as Rasmus Kupari.