The buzzards are beginning to circle…
According to Harvey Fialkov of the Sun Sentinel, the Florida Panthers might be looking to add some significant firepower to their roster in the form of one Philip J. Kessel.
From the man himself…
Panthers are interested in Kessel but aren’t going to give up young stud #flapanthers
— Harvey Fialkov (@hfialkov) February 16, 2015
This is, uh, well… pretty obvious? I’m pretty certain that 29 teams in the NHL are interested in acquiring Kessel, one of the league’s premier goal scorers, if they can do so without giving up any of their “young studs”. That being said, at least we can now identify at least one team with a level of certainty.
So who are the studs that Florida doesn’t want to part with? One would safely assume that 2014 first overall pick Aaron Ekblad is one, and 2013 second overall pick Aleksander Barkov is another. I’d hazard a guess that 6’6 centre and the Panthers’ leading scorer, Nick Bjugstad, is also untouchable.
So pretty much immediately, the idea of trading Kessel to Florida becomes a lot less exciting.
That being said, there’s still some nice pieces in the Florida organization. The Panthers are currently a non-playoff team, so their 2015 first round pick could be of particular interest. Could a current roster player like Jonathan Huberdeau or Erik Gudbranson be available (or even desirable)? Or maybe you look a little deeper into the Panthers organization and focus on one of their second-tier, but still very good prospects, like first year pro Rocco Grimaldi or Boston College standout Mike Matheson.
Whatever the case, Panthers GM Dale Tallon has a penchant for acquiring star talent for next-to-nothing… think Roberto Luongo or Brian Campbell. If Florida doesn’t want to give up significant value, and Tallon is the guy on the other side of the bargaining table, I might be more inclined to see who else wants to talk trade for Kessel.