Florida Panthers Facebook Florida Panthers Twitter Florida Panthers Google+ Florida Panthers Pintrest Florida Panthers Instagram Florida Panthers
  • RSS

Panthers Satisfied With Pre-Deadline Moves

Monday, 02.27.2012 / 5:31 PM ET / Features
By Alain Poupart  - NHL.com Correspondent
Share with your Friends

Panthers Satisfied With Pre-Deadline Moves
The Panthers stood pat on trade deadline day but made two moves in the days prior, picking up Wojtek Wolski (third from right) and Jerred Smithson (far right).
SUNRISE, Fla. -- The Florida Panthers didn't make any trades on Monday, but it wasn't for lack of trying. Unlike last year, though, they were looking to add players instead of trying to shed salary and accumulate draft picks.

"We made a lot of phone calls," GM Dale Tallon said Monday afternoon at the BankAtlantic Center. "We had identified what we wanted to add to our lineup and we were unable to get exactly what we wanted to get without mortgaging our future. We tried and tried to keep improving and adding. There's just not a lot of activity today."

It was quite a contrast from last year's trade deadline, when the Panthers made four deals, all of them involving sending a veteran for picks or younger players. Leaving the Panthers that day were forwards Radek Dvorak and Chris Higgins as well as defensemen Bryan Allen and Dennis Wideman.

The Panthers did add a couple of players over the weekend when they acquired center Jerred Smithson from Nashville on Friday and forward Wojtek Wolski from the Rangers on Saturday.

The moves already have paid dividends, with Wolski scoring a game-tying goal late in the third period Saturday night at Carolina in a game the Panthers won 3-2 in a shootout and Smithson doing solid work on faceoffs that night and Sunday in a 4-2 victory against Montreal.

"We made our moves early," Tallon said. "Those moves probably would have cost us a lot more today to do. Overall, I'm satisfied with the team we have. We have tremendous depth now. We improved our team a few days ago and we're going to get healthier as we move on the next couple of weeks."

Tallon said the Panthers really didn't come close to making a trade on Monday.

Jason Garrison, who is third among NHL defensemen with 13 goals, was thought to possibly be in play because he's scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent next summer. But Tallon said he never had any intention of trading him.

"Jason is a big part of our team and a big part of our future," Tallon said. "We're definitely going to continue to negotiate and get him a fair contract. He's a valuable asset. We need Jason. He's a shutdown guy besides having that big shot, and he plays a lot of valuable minutes for us."

Veteran forward Mikael Samuelsson also was rumored to be targeted by some teams, but Tallon said his name didn't come up on Monday. Neither did that of top prospect Jonathan Huberdeau, the third pick in the 2011 NHL Draft.

Tallon said repeatedly in the last several days the Panthers' biggest need was to find additional scoring, and a top-six forward was the primary target.

"There wasn't really anything real close," Tallon said. "You make a lot of good trades when you're dealing with yourselves. We certainly made a lot of great deals today. If we had a fantasy draft, maybe we would have been fine. But this is reality and you've got to have a partner to dance with. We tried a couple of times to get a certain type player that we wanted but were unable to get them done."

Panthers GM Dale Tallon talks to the media following the close of the NHL Trade Deadline.
Thanks in part to last year's deadline trades, Tallon has built up a nice group of prospects for the future. But the Panthers have surprised many observers by leading the Southeast Division for most of the season after bringing in a slew of veteran newcomers.

Florida leads Winnipeg in the Southeast by two points with three games in hand, and has a three-point lead over Washington with one game in hand.

The Panthers' surprising success this season is what put Tallon in a different spot than at last year's trade deadline.

"You always want to be on the buying end," he said. "It's no fun being a seller. It was necessary for us to be sellers last year and it's been necessary in other places, too, where I've been involved where you had to sell before you could get better and improve. Now we're looking forward to adding as we go on. We've got great pieces coming, too, great prospects. We've got a good, solid base and we're going to continue to add to it every year.

"We have tremendous depth now. When we get everyone back, we're going to have some tough decisions to make and we're going to have competition for jobs. That'll really help us. It's a good, solid team. We added a couple of good pieces with Smithson and Wolski and the players are excited about those moves and the add-ons. It's been a long time since we've been buyers and the players appreciate it and they're really excited about it."

Author: Alain Poupart | NHL.com Correspondent




1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 248 187 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 214 184 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 259 206 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 237 199 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 245 224 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 231 211 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 232 208 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 217 204 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 209 201 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 198 213 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 227 248 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 212 223 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 176 209 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 183 219 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 206 257 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 153 269 54


J. Huberdeau 79 15 39 10 54
J. Jokinen 81 8 36 -2 44
N. Bjugstad 72 24 19 -7 43
A. Ekblad 81 12 27 12 39
B. Boyes 78 14 24 11 38
A. Barkov 71 16 20 -4 36
J. Hayes 72 19 16 -4 35
B. Campbell 82 3 24 4 27
B. Pirri 49 22 2 6 24
D. Bolland 53 6 17 4 23
R. Luongo 28 19 12 .921 2.35
A. Montoya 6 7 2 .892 3.01

FloridaPanthers.com is the official Web site of the Florida Panthers. Florida Panthers and floridapanthers.com are trademarks of the Florida Panthers Hockey Club, Ltd.
NHL, the NHL Shield, the word mark and image of the Stanley Cup and NHL Conference logos are registered trademarks and NHL Draft name and logo are trademarks of the National Hockey League. All NHL logos and marks and NHL team logos and marks as well as a
ll other proprietary materials depicted herein are the property of the NHL and the respective NHL teams and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NHL Enterprises, L.P. Copyright © 1999-2015 Florida Panthers Hockey Club, Ltd and the National Hockey League. All Rights Reserved.