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Trade Coverage

NHL Trade Buzz: Panthers looking for offensive help

Florida has plenty of cap space to make a deal, wants boost to power play

by Arpon Basu @ArponBasu / LNH.com Senior Managing Editor

Welcome to the NHL Trade Buzz. There are 11 days remaining until the 2017 NHL Trade Deadline (3 p.m. ET., March 1), and the surging Florida Panthers are healthy and have loads of space under the salary cap to be aggressive. Also, Winnipeg Jets center Mathieu Perreault wonders why his name has floated around in trade rumors when he wants to stay put, but could see the bright side of a trade if one happened.

Here's a look around the League at the latest deadline doings:

 

Florida Panthers 

Florida is healthy, rolling and looking to buy.

The Panthers won their third game in a row and sixth in their past seven by defeating the Anaheim Ducks 4-1 on Friday at Honda Center.

The victory brought the Panthers to within two points of the Boston Bruins for third place in the Atlantic Division with two games in hand. They are one point behind the Toronto Maple Leafs for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference heading into play Saturday.

Video: FLA@SJS: Huberdeau buries Barkov's feed for OT win

Not only are the Panthers surging at the right time, they have more than $9 million in space under the NHL salary cap to work with, according to capfriendly.com.

"The goal is to be buying," president of hockey operations Dale Tallon told NHL.com in a phone interview Saturday. "I like where we're at, but I'd like to add some offense to get our power play going."

The Panthers entered their game Saturday at the Los Angeles Kings (10 p.m. ET; FS-W, FS-F, NHL.TV) with a success rate of 15.2 percent on the power play, 28th in the NHL. However, Florida has scored on three of its 11 opportunities during the three-game winning streak.

The return of forward Jonathan Huberdeau on Feb. 3 after a season-long absence because of an Achilles tendon injury made the Panthers fully healthy for the first time this season.

"I like our team, we've been waiting for [a healthy roster] for a long time," Tallon said. "Jonathan's made an extraordinary recovery."

The Panthers' core is remarkably young with forwards Huberdeau (23), Aleksander Barkov (21), Nick Bjugstad (24), Vincent Trocheck (23) and Reilly Smith (25) and defensemen Aaron Ekblad (21), Michael Matheson (22) and Alex Petrovic (24) all 25 or younger. All but Matheson and Petrovic are signed to long-term contracts.

Tallon admits that the youth on his roster might make him a little more willing than some of his counterparts around the NHL to part with some prospects in his system in return for some immediate help.

"But it has to be for the right asset," Tallon said.

The Panthers have six games before the deadline, and Tallon doesn't anticipate much movement around the NHL before next weekend at the earliest with so many teams still believing they have a shot at the playoffs.

"It's quiet right now," he said. "It's probably going to go down to next Sunday or Monday before trades are made."

 

Winnipeg Jets

Forward Mathieu Perreault saw his name pop on a trade target list a few weeks ago was confused.

He signed a four-year contract extension with the Jets in July that goes into effect next season precisely because he wanted to stay in Winnipeg and be part of what looks like a promising future.

Video: MTL@WPG: Perreault roofs Wheeler's feed from in front

Then, all of a sudden, he's supposedly a trade target.

"At first I was asking myself where those rumors were coming from," Perreault said before the Jets played the Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre on Saturday. "I signed a four-year contract extension in the summer, and six months later people are talking about trading me. That's why, when I talk to the coaches and the organization, I know it's not coming from the organization. I don't know if it's coming from the media or how it's getting out there."

The more he thought about it, however, Perreault came to realize that perhaps the upcoming expansion draft might be a reason why the Jets would consider moving him.

"Maybe I'm a guy they might lose for nothing," he said.

Perreault, 29, entered the game in Montreal with 18 points (four goals, 14 assists) in 43 games, his lowest point per game average (0.42) since 2010-11, his second season in the NHL. But he has been a strong possession player his entire career and remains so now.

"I want to stay in Winnipeg," said Perreault, who does not have no-trade protection on his current contract, but has a modified no-trade clause on his next one. "I signed here knowing there was a good future here with some good young players. This season's been tough. We're not out of it yet, but it's going to be tough, we're going to need a pretty great run from now until the end of the season to make the playoffs.

"If a trade happens, it will probably be to a team that's going to make the playoffs, and at my age I'd like to try to win the Stanley Cup eventually. So if it happens, at least it would be to a team that's going to make the playoffs."

 

New Jersey Devils 

Coach John Hynes is making forward Michael Cammalleri a healthy scratch for the first time in his career when the Devils host the New York Islanders on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; MSG, MSG+, NHL.TV), though it would be wise not to read too much into that.

Cammalleri, 34, has not scored a goal in 18 straight games and has 30 points (10 goals, 20 assists) in 51 games this season.

Video: NJD@WSH: Cammalleri shows off smooth hands in SO

His history as a goal-scorer and someone who performs well in the playoffs might be attractive to some teams in the trade market, but the two years after this season remaining on his contract at $5 million per season would likely scare away any suitors.

Though the Devils, who enter Saturday five points out of a playoff spot, are more likely to be sellers than buyers, it is doubtful Cammalleri would interest too many teams.

Cammalleri has a no-trade clause, but it is hard to imagine him not lifting it if that meant being traded to a contender.

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