With one of the NHL’s best records and a mountain of salary cap space at their disposal you have to figure that the Florida Panthers will be active before Monday’s NHL trade deadline.
They made their first addition on Saturday afternoon when they acquired defenseman Brandon Montour from the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for a 2021 third-round draft pick.
The 26-year-old Montour carries a salary cap hit of $3.850 million for this season and will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason. In 39 games with the Sabres he has five goals and eight assists this season.
He has posted solid offensive numbers throughout his career but his defensive impact has never been great. Was that simply the result of playing on some bad Sabres teams throughout his career? Or is it just the limitations to his skillset? The Panthers are about to find out.
For Buffalo it is the start of what figures to be a busy couple of days before Monday afternoon. The Sabres have the league’s worst record and are going to be a clear seller. The team has already made the decision to hold Taylor Hall out of the lineup as trade protection, while there are a handful of other players on the roster that could be available.