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.