SUNRISE, Fla. – The Florida Panthers don’t feel content at the top.

The day after they became the first team in the NHL to reach 90 points, the surging Panthers (43-16-4) made a big splash in the trade market with the acquisition of forward Vladimir Tarasenko from the Ottawa Senators.

In adding the former Stanley Cup champion, the Panthers didn’t have to part with a single prospect to get the deal done, instead sending the Senators only a conditional fourth-round selection in the 2024 NHL Draft and a third-round selection in the 2025 NHL Draft.

Leaving room for another potential move, Ottawa also retained 50% of Tarasenko’s contract.

As always, another tidy bit of business for general manager Bill Zito.

“Vladimir is a highly skilled and experienced scoring winger who provides our club with another dynamic offensive option as we embark on the remainder of our season,” Zito said in the team's official release announcing the trade. “We are excited for him to join our team, and to compete for the Stanley Cup once again.”

A veteran of over 700 games in the NHL, Tarasenko produced 41 points (17 goals, 24 assists) and a +13 plus/minus rating in 57 games with Ottawa this season. A proven performer in the playoffs, he’s also scored 44 goals in 97 career postseason contests.

With the Panthers, Tarasenko will have a chance to shine while not necessarily having to step directly into the spotlight. With so many big guns already in place in South Florida, the 32-year-old will be counted on to provide steady secondary scoring rather than leading the charge up front.

Given his knack for lighting the lamp at 5-on-5 and his skills working on the rush, he should flourish in his new role.

As for where he’ll be lining up with the Panthers, we’ll have to wait until he arrives in South Florida to find out.

In the meantime, here’s what media around the NHL is saying about the move.

Ryan Clark, ESPN: “Getting Tarasenko provides the Panthers with a legitimate top-six winger whose playoff experience could help the club win the first title in franchise history. … His playoff experience lends itself in the form of a winger who has 44 goals and 64 points in 97 postseason games which includes the 11 goals he scored to help the St. Louis Blues win the Stanley Cup in 2019." (Click to read full article at ESPN)

Dom Luszczyszyn, The Athletic: “When the Panthers acquire a player, it’s fair to envision the best version of that player immediately coming to light. The Panthers are a savvy organization that has shown time and again that they know exactly which players to target and they know exactly how to get the most out of them.” (Click to read full article at The Athletic)

Sean Gentille, The Athletic: “The biggest reason Tarasenko makes sense, though, is the price. A few years’ worth of live-in-the-present trades have depleted Florida’s stock of tradable assets, whether prospects or picks, to a major degree. That was the single biggest hurdle Zito had to clear, and he managed it.” (Click to read full article at The Athletic)

Jason Bukala / Rory Boylen, Sportsnet: “This year's Panthers come with the highest of expectations and are currently the top-ranked team in the NHL. In Tarasenko, the Panthers get a former 40-goal veteran who won a Stanley Cup with the St. Louis Blues in 2019. He's not the top-line, game-breaking sniper he once was, but in the middle of the lineup Tarasenko is still fully capable of being a key contributor and a timely goal scorer with a wicked shot.” (Click to read full article at Sportsnet)

Edward Sutelan, Sporting News: “Tarasenko is a natural scorer and a dynamic playmaker, and lining him up with Bennett and Tkachuk could give the Panthers two deep sets of forwards who can rival any in the NHL.” (Click to read full article at Sporting News)

Austin Nivison, CBS Sports: “Tarasenko brings 17 goals with him down to Florida, making an already imposing lineup even more formidable as the playoffs approach. Tarasenko should be a nice fit for the Panthers on the wing, and that upgrade cost them next to nothing.” (Click to read full article at CBS Sports)

Jordan McPherson, Miami Herald: “Tarasenko gives the Panthers another forward who can contribute offensively. Where he plays once he arrives in South Florida is still to be determined. Tarasenko is a left-handed shot who has almost exclusively played on the right wing.” (Click to read full article at Miami Herald)

Mike Chiari, Bleacher Report: “Tarasenko will join a Panthers team that is already stacked with high-end talent at forward, including Matthew Tkachuk, Aleksander Barkov, Carter Verhaeghe and Sam Reinhart, who leads the team with 75 points and is second in the NHL with 45 goals. Given his scoring ability, Tarasenko could instantly slot in as part of the Panthers' second line alongside Tkachuk and center Sam Bennett.” (Click to read full article at Bleacher Report)

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