Florida Panthers Facebook Florida Panthers Twitter Florida Panthers Google+ Florida Panthers Pintrest Florida Panthers Instagram Florida Panthers
From The Press Box


From The Press Box is a weekly column written by FloridaPanthers.com and NHL.com writer Alain Poupart. Poupart has been covering the Panthers and the NHL for 20 years.

Have a question for Alain? Be sure to ask him through twitter @apoupartFins.


Deadline Delivers

The Panthers scored big with one of the biggest acquisitions around the NHL.

Thursday, 03.06.2014 / 4:30 PM / From The Press Box
By Alain Poupart  - FloridaPanthers.com
X
Share with your Friends


Deadline Delivers
The Panthers scored big with one of the biggest acquisitions around the NHL.

If, for some reason, there remained any doubt whatsoever that the NHL Trading Deadline is more exciting than that of any other sport, it should be indisputable now.

This year’s deadline once again produced some high drama, and the Panthers were right in the middle of it with one of the biggest deals throughout the league. When Rory Babich was introduced as the team’s new president/CEO in a conference call Monday night, GM Dale Tallon promised some bold action by the team in the quest to bring a Stanley Cup to South Florida.

He clearly wasn’t kidding.

Bringing back goalie Roberto Luongo, one of the best and most popular players in franchise history, certainly qualified as a bold move. It also was a strong move, for several reasons.

The biggest, and most obvious, reason the Luongo trade was a good one for the Panthers is that it solidified their goaltending situation for the next several years. This is meant as no disrespect to Tim Thomas, who did a solid job in net after signing in September, but the reality is that Thomas will turn 40 years old next month.

Luongo is five years younger and, as he pointed out during his introductory press conference on Wednesday, is still on top of his game. Just compare his stats from this season (2.38 goals-against average, .917 save percentage) to his career numbers (2.51 GAA, .919 save percentage), and you’ll see he’s right.

Luongo is just the type of goalie needed for a team loaded with young talent, which is exactly what the Panthers are. The fact that Luongo has remained a fan favorite in South Florida even long after he first left is a bonus.

This trade was a long time coming, and in the end the Panthers worked out a good deal for themselves. As Tallon pointed out, Jacob Markstrom has plenty of potential as a goaltender, but he’s no longer the sure thing he once appeared. As for Shawn Matthias, he’s in the middle of one of his hot streaks now, but the reality is he wasn’t a core player for the Panthers moving forward and he also seemed to welcome a trade to a Canadian team.

The Luongo trade, however, was only one of the many moves made by the Panthers.

The second one that really stood out was the re-signing of veteran right wing Brad Boyes. There had been speculation that perhaps the Panthers would trade him because he was scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent in July, but Boyes has proven too valuable an offensive threat to let go.

On a team that should have several young players next season, Boyes will bring a veteran presence that only will help. Plus his shootout prowess also is invaluable.

The Panthers did trade away a couple of veteran free agents-to-be this week, with Marcel Goc going to Pittsburgh and Mike Weaver going to Montreal. Both of them should be saluted for their contributions to the Panthers, Weaver for his never-ending willingness to sacrifice his body and Goc for his consistent two-way play. And who can forget Goc’s game-tying goal late in the third period of Game 7 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals against the New Jersey Devils two years ago.

Both, however, were expendable — Weaver because of the team’s young depth on the blue line, and Goc because of the Panthers’ abundance of talented young centers in the organization.

One of those young centers is newcomer Brandon Pirri, acquired from the Blackhawks on Sunday night. A skilled offensive player, Pirri joins a talented group that includes Aleksander Barkov, Nick Bjugstad, Drew Shore and Vincent Trocheck, who is expected to make his NHL debut Friday night against the Buffalo Sabres at the BB&T Center.

A lot of the Panthers’ young players are expected to get extensive action down the stretch this season to help them get experience and set the foundation for a successful 2014-15 season and beyond. The trade deadline, exciting as always, provided one key piece for that foundation.

UPCOMING EVENTS

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
6 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
7 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
8 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
9 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
10 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
N. Bjugstad 76 16 22 -14 38
S. Upshall 76 15 22 1 37
B. Campbell 82 7 30 -6 37
B. Boyes 78 21 15 -6 36
S. Bergenheim 62 16 13 -16 29
J. Huberdeau 69 9 19 -5 28
T. Fleischmann 80 8 20 -18 28
T. Gilbert 73 3 25 -5 28
B. Pirri 49 13 12 6 25
A. Barkov 54 8 16 -3 24
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 25 23 7 .919 2.40
S. Clemmensen 6 7 1 .896 3.09
 
OUR PARTNERS

 

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 of the National Hockey League. All NHL logos and marks and NHL team logos and marks as well as all 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 © 1999-2014 Florida Panthers Hockey Club, Ltd and the National Hockey League. All Rights Reserved.