February 26, 2019 | 9:57am ET
PANTHERS BUSY ON DEADLINE DAY, BEGIN PLAN FOR SUMMER
Dale Tallon, GM
The Florida Panthers were extremely active leading up to Monday’s 3pm ET trade deadline and while GM Dale Tallon was hoping to land a big fish, he’ll turn his attention to his off-season planning.
According to separate sources, the Panthers were engaged in trade talks with the Columbus Blue Jackets for goalie Sergei Bobrovsky and the Ottawa Senators for right wing Mark Stone, but weren’t able to agree to a deal – Stone, of course, was traded to the Vegas Golden Knights, where he agreed to an eight-year contract extension.
With a significant amount of salary cap space for next season, Tallon is eager to get his plan in place, beginning with the NHL Draft in late-June.
“The next focus for me and our staff is getting ready for the draft,” Tallon told the Panthers’ website. “We’ve accumulated a lot of picks for that. Now it’s to make sure that list is tight, and we get all the top players we can possibly we can get with the number of picks that we have.”
After the Draft comes to a close, teams will enter the talking period in which clubs are allowed to speak with pending free agents before they officially hit the market July 1. The Panthers are expected to be tremendously active.
“We’ll be very aggressive after the season,” Tallon said. “We have lots of room now. We have lots of pick. We’ll turn this into a positive thing. We had some bunt singles, to scratch and claw to improve our organization on a daily basis and then we’ll eventually hit the home run.”
The Panthers are expected to be major players for soon-to-be UFAs Bobrovsky and Blue Jackets left wing Artemi Panarin, but may also try to lure others who could hit the open market, like San Jose Sharks defenceman Erik Karlsson, Blue Jackets centre Matt Duchene or Winnipeg Jets centre Kevin Hayes, among others.