Hey Guys -
It's been a few days, and with a little work break, I thought I'd jot down some thoughts...
First off, these playoffs keep getting better and better. What the H is going on!?
Secondly...I've been seeing various fun rumors/discussions on some Panthers fan pages regarding potential players possibly making their way to South Florida. A lot are wishes by fans, but still fun to think about. The most recent one being: Evgeni Malkin.
I like Malkin. Let's face it, a big center with high caliber skill is desired by a lot of teams.
But would he fit on the Panthers?
Haha. Of course he would, but he comes with a pretty hefty price tag (check out those numbers below).
2019-20: 9.5 M base salary w/ 9.5 M Cap Hit
2020-21: 4.5 M base salary w/ 9.5 M Cap Hit
2021-22: 4.5 M base salary w/ 9.5 M Cap Hit
I would imagine the Pens would probably want a current guy and top prospect back. Obviously just speculating for fun, but would you be OK with moving, say, Trocheck and Tippet for Malkin? Seems pretty steep.
Another topic that seems to be coming up quite a bit is whether or not Bob and Panarin will sign with Florida.
Prior to their recent playoff success, many folks had Bob/Panarin signing with the Panthers as a slam dunk. A complete done deal. Now they don't know.
Seems like a lot of people feel the Jackets success could influence them to stay. I suppose it could, but who knows.
I personally never believed it was a "for sure" thing. I mean...there are so many variables that need to happen for guys to sign anywhere. On top of that, it's just speculation at this point. Sure, fun speculation, but speculation none the less.
I'll be pumped if it happens, especially the Bob portion...it's been fun watching him morph into a brick wall this post-season. Imagine that in the Florida blue paint...
I'm honestly hoping for some serious chaos this summer, not only from the Panthers side, but around the league. I'd love to see some wild shakeups with signings and trades. These unpredictable playoffs have sort of exposed a need for change to me. Always cool seeing some new teams get into the post-season and continue finding success - hey, that could be the Panthers next season...
Under the Radar
While it's fun to talk about making a splash and signing some big names, I'm wondering if the Panthers are also looking to load up with some depth, too.
I've really liked how Tye McGinn is playing for the Chicago Wolves (Vegas' AHL affiliate). He's the middle child of the McGinn bros - with Jamie in Florida and Brock in Carolina.
I bring him up not only because of the Jamie connection, but I think he'd be a nice pickup for the Cats. He's a fringe-NHLer, with previous NHL experience coming from PHI, AZ and TB. I think he's building a case for regular NHL minutes right now with Chicago and and at 6'3", 205 lb., he has good size - which is an area I think the Panthers need to try and address a bit; especially if Brouwer is moved.
He's really come alive for the Wolves since being traded by Manitoba in January for future considerations. In fact, he's been a catalyst for Chicago's post-season success thus far. in six games this post-season, he sits at 7 points (3 G, 4 A) and was the guy that assisted the game-winning goal against Iowa last night (OT). He's been all over the ice and plays a relatively simple game of getting himself to the net, but posses some nice hands and skill - both of which (combined with his size) have helped contribute to his ability to get past opposing defensemen.
Depending on how he plays the rest of his playoffs, I think he'd be a good guy in the Cats organization and probably a pretty cheap pickup for depth purposes and lower line work if needed.
The Brothers McGinn on the same team would be pretty cool, too.
IIHF World Championship
NHL.com posted an article
today talking about the six Panthers who will be participating in the IIHF World Championship at Bratislava and Kosice, Slovakia this May.
Congrats to Forwards:
Additional congrats to GM Dale Tallon on his role as the U.S. Men's National Team Advisory Group and goaltending coach Robb Tallas for locking up the goaltending coach position for Team Italy.
Chris Driedger Signed
The other day, Tallon announced the signing of goaltender Chris Driedger to a two-year, two-way extension. Never a bad thing to extend the goaltending ranks.
"Driedger, 24, appeared in 32 games with Florida's American Hockey League affiliate, the Springfield Thunderbirds, owning an 18-10-2 record, 2.45 goals against average and one shutout, while posting an AHL league-leading .924 save percentage. The 6-foot-4, 205-pound native of Winnipeg, Manitoba, also appeared in 12 games with the Manchester Monarchs of the ECHL, registering a 6-5-0 mark, 2.75 goals against average and .911 save percentage. The Panthers signed Driedger to a one-year, two-way contract on Feb. 24, 2019.
He has played three career NHL games, all with the Ottawa Senators (2014-15 to 2016-17) and has played 124 career AHL games, recording a 56-49-8 record, 2.91 goals against average, .910 save percentage and three shutouts.
Driedger was originally selected by Ottawa in the third round (76th overall) of the 2012 NHL Draft."
Talkin' Hockey, The Hockey Talkin' Show on Soundcloud
I touched on these guys in my last blog, but wanted to point you in their direction again as the second episode of their podcast
had the fellas discussing/providing some nice insight into Brady Keeper.
I would encourage you to send any of your Panthers questions/ideas (or general hockey thoughts) their way via their Instagram account: vintage_hockey_hair
There's a slew of hockey podcasts out there, many of which speak to the listener from an "expert" or "all-knowing" perspective. These guys have the opposite approach. For me, I just want to listen to cool dudes talking about hockey, beer and glorious flow - that's why I dig their show so much. Not to mention the solid Canadian accents.
If you have the same mindset, give 'em listen and drop 'em a line!
Enjoy the playoffs!