The moment no one has waited for is upon us. It’s time to talk Panthers trades. Before I begin, I must share a disclaimer. I. HATE. TRADES. Absolutely despise getting rid of players. So, I will be very picky about who I will even consider letting go. Apologies in advance for fans of Owen Tippett; I don’t want to see him go either. Also, I am horrifically underqualified to talk about anything related to the salary cap. I get completely lost. With that said, let’s take a look at who’s on the block and who’s on the radar.

On The Block.

Owen Tippett

Panthers Trades
COLUMBUS, OH – JANUARY 31: Owen Tippett #74 of the Florida Panthers skates with the puck during the second period of a game against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena on January 31, 2022 in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Ben Jackson/NHLI via Getty Images)

Drafted by the Panthers with the 10th overall pick in 2017, Owen Tippett was lauded as a pure goal scorer. I feel he isn’t being utilized to the best of his ability to the point that he isn’t being given a chance to succeed. With the Panthers’ offensive depth, Tippett has become one of the odd men out, along with the next player on the block.

Frank Vatrano

Panthers Trades
SUNRISE, FL – JANUARY 11: Frank Vatrano #77 of the Florida Panthers skates with the puck against the Vancouver Canucks at the FLA Live Arena on January 11, 2022 in Sunrise, Florida. (Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images)

Franklin “the Tanklin” Vatrano, acquired by the Panthers via trade from the Boston Bruins in 2018, has become another odd man out as the season progresses. He has an excellent wrist shot and can get scorching hot when he wants to. He hasn’t had the chance. (Of course, as I write this, he is announced as part of the lineup against the Blue Jackets. It ruins my narrative! Although there are a TON of scouts scheduled to be at the game, so it might be a showcase game.)

Assorted Prospects

I will not be shocked to see some of the Panthers’ young prospects sent elsewhere in some of these trades.

On The Radar. (In no particular order.)

Claude Giroux

Panthers Trades
PHILADELPHIA, PA – FEBRUARY 17: Claude Giroux #28 of the Philadelphia Flyers skates against the Washington Capitals at the Wells Fargo Center on February 17, 2022 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images)

Look me in the eyes and tell me that Claude Giroux doesn’t fit into this lineup PERFECTLY. I’ll wait. If you think the Panthers’ offense is insane now, wait until Claude Giroux starts flying up and down the ice next to Barkov, Huberdeau, Duclair, Verhaeghe, Bennett, etc. Can Bill Zito find a way to make his cap hit fit? That’s far above my paygrade.

Filip Forsberg

NASHVILLE, TN – FEBRUARY 15: Filip Forsberg #9 of the Nashville Predators skates against the Washington Capitals during an NHL game at Bridgestone Arena on February 15, 2022 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images)

Before I dive into my list of defensemen that the Panthers might be after, I must take a moment to address Filip Forsberg. Rumors have him on Nashville’s trading block, and he would also fit very nicely into the Panthers’ fast and loose style of hockey. His salary-cap hit also isn’t as hard to swallow as Claude Giroux’s. The real question will be whether Nashville is open to trading him.

Mark Giordano

Panthers Trades
WINNIPEG, MB – FEBRUARY 17: Mark Giordano #5 of the Seattle Kraken takes part in the pre-game warm up prior to NHL action against the Winnipeg Jets at Canada Life Centre on February 17, 2022 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. (Photo by Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images)

An experienced defenseman on a team that will probably be looking to sell come the trade deadline. Along with the following three players on this list, Mark Giordano could definitely be on the Panthers’ trade radar in the coming weeks. A former Norris Trophy winner, the current captain of the Seattle Kraken, has a few more years of quality hockey left in the tank. After spending 15 seasons on the Calgary Flames without an appearance in the Stanley Cup Finals, the 38-year-old might be looking to solidify his chances at a cup before he runs out of time in his career.

Jakob Chychrun

GLENDALE, ARIZONA – JANUARY 29: Jakob Chychrun #6 of the Arizona Coyotes prepares for a game against the Buffalo Sabres at Gila River Arena on January 29, 2022 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/NHLI via Getty Images)

Chychrun… Why does that name sound familiar? Oh yeah! His father, Jeff, has been an analyst for the Panthers’ tv broadcasts for the last three seasons. A former Junior Panther, Jakob Chychrun, grew up cheering on the Panthers as a young kid from Boca Raton. The youngest player on my list of targets, Jakob, is the only player that I see staying with the Panthers long-term if acquired. And wouldn’t it be cool to have him skating alongside fellow South Floridian defenseman Chase Priskie?

John Klingberg

DALLAS, TX – FEBRUARY 23: John Klingberg #3 of the Dallas Stars handles the puck against the Winnipeg Jets at the American Airlines Center on February 23, 2022 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Dallas Stars are sitting right on the edge of the Western Conference playoff chase in a situation not dissimilar to Filip Forsberg’s Nashville Predators. That being the case, they may be hesitant to part ways with an experienced defenseman like John Klingberg. Personally, I feel he would be a great fit alongside our current defensemen and could help clean up some of the sloppy play we’ve seen as of late.

Calvin de Haan

WINNIPEG, MB – FEBRUARY 14: Calvin de Haan #44 of the Chicago Blackhawks keeps an eye on the play during third period action against the Winnipeg Jets at Canada Life Centre on February 14, 2022 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. (Photo by Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images)

Another experienced defenseman on a team that is going nowhere. Calvin de Haan isn’t really known for his offensive play. I mean, why would he? He’s a defenseman! What stands out for me is his ability to absorb shots and throw his body around at will. He averages over 100 blocked shots and 100 hits a season. Someone like him would be a great help for our sometimes struggling goaltenders.

Speaking of goaltenders… (Brace yourselves!)

Marc-André Fleury???

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – FEBRUARY 18: Goalie Marc-Andre Fleury #29 waits for play to begin in the second period against the Dallas Stars of the Chicago Blackhawks at United Center on February 18, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images)

Before everyone starts yelling and screaming, hear me out. While this probably won’t happen, the Panthers need a depth goalie. Especially after Thursday night’s performance from Jonas Johansson. (Nothing against JoJo, I’d rather not have to see THAT again.) This issue really boils down to three not-so-simple questions. Do I trust Sergei Bobrovsky? Not really. Do I trust Spencer Knight? More than Bob, but not really. Will Bill Zito make an earth-shattering move like this? Sure, why not? What could POSSIBLY go wrong, right?

Assorted Defensemen

This is pretty self-explanatory. The Panthers need defensive depth.

But What if We Don’t?

“A trade deadline without trades!?!? Have you lost your mind!?!?!” I hear you screaming through the screen. Yes, I have lost my mind, but that’s not the point. As the saying goes, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” The Panthers have dominated out on the ice since day 1. Why change something that is working? Granted, there are some holes, but those holes can easily be closed with better puck management and tighter checking. Can this group of guys do that? The talent is there, so why not? There are also prospects chomping at the bit like Chase Priskie. It will be fascinating to see what, if any, moves Bill Zito cooks up as we approach the trade deadline.

Thank you for reading my latest article for Belly Up Sports! You can follow me on Twitter! And you can find other great articles about the NHL throughout the Belly Up Sports site!

About Author

Noah Berger

Noah is a student at FIU concentrating in sports journalism. He currently holds the position of Chief Engagement Officer for FishStripes and is the Florida Panther’s beat writer for BellyUpSports. Noah is also an expert in all things trains, a huge New York Jets fan, and can build any Lego. Noah is also a Sabbath Observant Jew, so he will not respond back to you between Sunset on Friday and Sunset on Saturday.

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