Buy or Sell: Florida Panthers Odds After Matthew Tkachuk Trade
The Florida Panthers and Calgary Flames completed a blockbuster trade over the weekend, which saw Matthew Tkachuk dealt to South Beach and sign an extension. Still, how does this trade improve or hinder the Panthers’ Stanley Cup futures price tag?
This trade was interesting for the Panthers to make at face value because they gave up a lot to get Tkachuk. Still, they clearly weren’t enamored with how their core group of players responded to playoff adversity, being eliminated for the second straight season by the Tampa Bay Lightning. However, it’s still difficult to believe that they traded Jonathan Huberdeau, a top five vote-getter for the Hart Trophy last season, along with Mackenzie Weegar and futures for Tkachuk. The uncertainty surrounding Huberdeau and Weegar regarding their respective futures in Florida likely played a role, with both players heading into the last year of their contract. With Tkachuk immediately signing an eight-year deal with the Panthers worth $76 million, the deal comes with some cost certainty that should help this team contend for at least the next half-decade.
Tkachuk gives the Panthers an element they lacked in prior seasons, which could put them over the top in a tough Atlantic division. His physicality, feistiness, and goal-scoring prowess will be needed this season, which has the Cats with the fourth highest Stanley Cup odds on the FanDuel Sportsbook at +1100.
Questions in goal and on defense may create a bearish mentality on the futures market for the Panthers, but there’s still a lot of positivity surrounding the 2021-22 President’s Trophy winners. Losing Weegar in the Tkachuk trade to Calgary, along with Ben Chiarot in free agency, leaves the Panthers with a top-four defense that should consist of Aaron Ekblad, Gustav Forsling, Brandon Montour, and Radko Gudas, which is unlikely to scare teams away or have the mobility enough to stop the top offensive talents in the Eastern Conference. Sergei Bobrovsky and Spencer Knight had up and down campaigns in the net during 2021-22, but with so much money tied to Bobrovsky, that makes this a tough contract to get out from under if they deem Knight ready to take the reins as a full-time starter.
There’s a lot of uncertainty surrounding the Panthers’ offseason, and even if you like the addition of Tkachuk to their forward core, it’s hard to say that this is a move that improves the outlook of this team before the trade. If the Panthers can add another smooth-skating, top-four defenseman, you can make a case that this trade has the potential to pay dividends for the club when the stakes increase. Still, it’s hard to buy into Florida and what it currently offers in the Stanley Cup futures market.