The draft has come and gone and the below image marks the hopefuls to one day wear a Cat sweater (or any NHL sweater for that matter).
Congrats to all the draftees and if you can’t make it to watch them at development camp, be sure to check out the daily updates that will undoubtedly be cropping up the next few days across Florida’s social media platforms.
As much as folks enjoy the draft and seeing Florida’s future be developed, I think it’s safe to say that most (if not all) Panthers fan attention at this time is focused on Zito and the current roster that’s between a rock and a hard place with a measly $774,166 in cap space (per Capfriendly
Someone (or multiple guys) need to go.
It’s a tough spot to be in, but that’s the price of swinging for the fences when you’re assembling the group of guys you think have a legitimate shot at the Cup.
Sure, leveraging the future stings right now and contributes to fans’ angst at the current pickle the team finds themselves in. But hindsight is always 20/20. Had Florida won it all, it would have been worth it. Had they stayed pat, done nothing at the deadline and had the same postseason results, then people would have been angry they didn’t do enough.
Damned if you do. Damned if you don’t.
Whichever side of the fence you’re on, the end result is that they have a serious issue that they will need to figure out. They don’t have the money or the assets in picks/prospects to buy and barter for the pieces they need.
They will get some relief when Duclair is placed on LTIR, but a lot more will need to be done, and a hard decision (or two, or three…) will need to be made regarding this current roster.
Complicating the issue is the fact that they will want to resign Huby and Weegar (if he’s not moved) which will require a good chunk of cheddar to be freed up because this core is expensive. I personally wouldn’t mind a shakeup of said core, but that’s for a different blog…
Then there’s Marchy. Since the guy who brings the same game at a much cheaper price tag has left for the Euro league (Mamin), the Cats will need to resign #17 before Wednesday.
So what happens?
Their moves thus far have been resigning Loustarinen and Carlsson, while not qualifying Jonas Johansson. With Acciari losing his spot as a regular this past season, I have no doubt he will hit the market on Wednesday.
Many believe Hornqvist will be traded. His age and price tag for a low line guy might make that difficult. But he does play a key role that not many guys are willing to do, and one that no one else on this roster does. So he might be worth keeping around for his last year.
I have seen more and more rumblings linking Weegar to the Sens. There’s even some fans hoping that Bob and Weegar will be packaged and sent to Edmonton since the Oil are looking for a goalie and defensive help (don’t see this happening).
I honestly have no idea what Zito and co. have planned. All I know is that the seconds are ticking away quickly…
What I think could happen:
- One of the “big” names (shakeup)
they need to free up money to get a legit defenseman (if Chiarot wants way too much) and it’s my personal opinion that they need to start looking inward to guys like Hepo, Gregorio, Denisenko and Dalpe for depth. These could be capable options for cheap.
I just want the funds and assets they will hopefully aquire (from some moves this off-season) spent on the targeted areas of need: defense and someone with snarl.
We’ll see what happens…Go Panthers!