What does Florida have to trade? Let’s pick over the roster

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Dale Tallon wants to make a trade. Badly.

With his team off to a disastrous 3-9-4 start, the Panthers’ general manager already felt the need to fire head coach Kevin Dineen, along with assistants Gord Murphy and Craig Ramsay. And let’s face it, with new ownership in Florida, the next guy to be fired could be Tallon.

But what does Tallon have to offer other NHL teams? We’ll ignore blue-chippers like Jonathan Huberdeau and Aleksander Barkov; if any of the Panthers’ highly touted youngsters are available, obviously they’ll draw interest.

As for Florida’s veterans? Here are a few to consider:

Tomas Fleischmann: The team’s leading scorer, with 11 points in 15 games. The 29-year-old winger is signed through 2014-15 with a $4.5 million cap hit that would’ve been a lot easier to move in any other season. (Cap space isn’t exactly plentiful for most teams.) But given Rick Nash’s health concerns, might the Rangers have some interest here? Just throwing it out there.

Marcel Goc: A pending unrestricted free agent with a $1.7 million cap hit, this 30-year-old center should be movable. He’s not going to score a ton and he’s got a lengthy injury log that may be concerning, but for a team looking to bolster depth down the middle, Goc could be a target.

Jesse Winchester: Very affordable pending UFA with a cap hit of just $600,000, this 30-year-old forward has four goals and three assists in 16 games. He also doesn’t mind playing physical, with 25 hits.

Shawn Matthias: Signed through 2014-15 with a cap hit of $1.75 million, Matthias is another guy who could bolster a team’s forward depth. The 25-year-old had a career-high 14 goals last season, so there’s scoring potential in him too. Of course, the Panthers may be loathe to trade him, for those exact reasons.

Tom Gilbert: Pending UFA. Low cap hit ($900,000). Gilbert, 30, is logging 21:06 per game on the Panthers’ blue line. Teams are always looking to add extra d-men for the playoffs, though some might want to wait until closer to the spring to do that.

Those five aren’t the only ones that could be available. Far from it. Tallon should also be more than willing to talk about veterans like Kris Versteeg, Scottie Upshall, Brad Boyes, Tomas Kopecky, Sean Bergenheim, Scott Gomez, Mike Weaver, Matt Gilroy and Ryan Whitney.

Basically, if he wasn’t a high draft pick in the past few years, he’s more than likely available.

Arizona lawmaker suggests Coyotes pledge more money for new arena

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Arizona Senate President Steve Yarbrough does not expect a piece of legislation to pass that would give the Coyotes millions of dollars in public financing to build a new arena.

That being said, Yarbrough thinks the Coyotes may be able to gain some “traction” if they offer to put in more of their own money.

Under the current plan, the team has pledged $170 million of the arena’s total cost, which is estimated at almost $400 million. The difference would be made up by new sales taxes, plus $55 million from the still-to-be-determined host city.

“If you are getting no traction the way the bill is designed, you could see if the hockey team paid a greater portion,” Yarbrough told the Arizona Republic yesterday. “I have been around this business long enough to know that if it’s not working in this format, you change the format to make it more attractive.”

For their part, the Coyotes have not said whether they’d be willing to pay a greater portion of the project, only that they’ll continue to “work hard to find a viable arena solution in the greater Phoenix area, a market that both the club and the NHL believe is a strong hockey market capable of supporting a successful NHL franchise.”

Related: Bettman says Coyotes “cannot and will not remain in Glendale”

Into the fire: Halak, recalled yesterday, starts for Isles in Pittsburgh

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A little scene setting for you.

New York heads into tonight’s massive game in Pittsburgh sitting two points back of Boston for the final wild card in the Eastern Conference. The Isles have two games in hand on the B’s — who are idle tonight — so a win could move them into a playoff spot.

As such, the Isles will start a goalie that hasn’t played in the NHL in 85 days.

Against the league’s highest-scoring offense.

The goalie in question is Jaroslav Halak, who’s spent the last three months playing for the Isles’ AHL affiliate in Bridgeport. Recalled yesterday, Halak will now face big league competition for the first time since Dec. 29, when he allowed four goals on 24 shots in a loss to Minnesota.

(Afterward, then-head coach Jack Capuano ripped Halak, saying he gave up “some soft goals to start” and “wasn’t sharp at all.”)

But Halak’s been really good in Bridgeport.

He’s posted a 17-7-1 record with a 2.15 GAA and .925 save percentage, and a pair of shutouts. And given how spotty Berube’s play has been as Greiss’ backup, the Isles really had no other choice than to recall Halak.

The club is in the midst of a compacted part of the schedule. Greiss was excellent in Wednesday’s win over the Rangers — stopping 34 of 36 shots in a 3-2 victory — but he was also busy.

The Isles are in Pittsburgh tonight, then host the Bruins on Saturday — another massive game — then host the Preds on Monday. It’s a compact part of the schedule, and Berube’s struggles have rendered him virtually unplayable, given how meaningful the games are (and, to borrow a timeless cliche, how vital points are at this time of the year.)

So it’s Halak tonight, and possibly more down the stretch.

For Tuukka Rask and the Bruins, a ‘bad goal’ at the worst possible time

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The growing ranks of Tuukka Rask detractors gained some serious ammunition during last night’s loss to Tampa Bay.

The deciding goal in the 6-3 defeat was a “bad one,” according to Rask and most anyone else who was watching.

It may have been a hard shot by Jonathan Drouin, unleashed at the top of the circle, but it still should’ve been stopped.

After the game, Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy told reporters that Rask “needed to be better tonight.”

In fact, Rask hasn’t been very good the past few months. Since Jan. 1, his save percentage is just .888. But with nobody trustworthy behind him, he’s had to just play through his struggles.

It’s impossible to say if Rask’s numbers would be better if the Bruins had a more capable backup. He’d be more rested, though. And when he was struggling, the coach would at least have another option to consider. With an .897 save percentage on the season, Anton Khudobin simply hasn’t been reliable enough to garner that consideration.

Don’t expect Rask to get the next game off. Saturday in Brooklyn, the Bruins — losers of four straight in regulation, and suddenly on the verge of falling out of the playoff picture — face the Islanders in arguably the biggest game of both teams’ seasons.

Bolts recall Koekkoek, putting Garrison’s status into doubt

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The Tampa Bay Lightning, after earning a big win last night in Boston, may not have defenseman Jason Garrison tonight in Detroit.

The Bolts recalled d-man Slater Koekkoek from AHL Syracuse this morning — a move that would seem to put Garrison’s status into doubt against the Red Wings.

Garrison was forced to leave the Bruins game in the second period with a lower-body injury.

Koekkoek has played 29 games for the Lightning this season, recording no goals and four assists.