For the last three years, the NHL trade deadline usually meant it was time for Florida’s annual fire sale. (Cheap veterans available! All UFAs must go! Yes, we do rentals!)
Players shipped out during that time included Chris Higgins, Bryan Allen, Radek Dvorak, Jordan Leopold, Dominic Moore, Dennis Seidenberg, Dennis Wideman, Bryan McCabe and Cory Stillman, to name a few.
(Okay, to name a lot.)
But there will be no fire sale this year, according to Panthers GM Dale Tallon — far from it. Tallon is hell-bent on Florida making the playoffs for the first time in 11 years and to prove it, he showed the South Florida Sun-Sentinel a list of roughly a dozen crossed-off names of GMs that he’d called.
You know, just to show he meant business.
“We’re not sellers,” Tallon told the Sun-Sentinel. “We got five games before the deadline, so we’ll know better. We got a good team, so it’s a matter of adding pieces. We’re moving forward from here; we’re not subtracting.”
The Panthers hold a four-point lead over Washington for top spot in the Southeast Division but clearly want to add some offense. They rank 21st in goals and 26th in even-strength goals and have struggled to find secondary scoring beyond the top line of Kris Versteeg (22G), Tomas Fleischmann (18G) and Stephen Weiss (13G).
“The easier we can score goals, the better it is on your stomach,” Tallon said. “[But] the phones are really quiet. A lot of teams are still looking to see if they’re buying or selling, so they’re all kicking the tires.”
It sounds like Tallon is trying to add pieces up front, while leaving his blueline as is. Injured defensemen Ed Jovanovski and Jason Garrison are expected to return before the Feb. 27 deadline, meaning the Cats will have adequate depth in that department.