First Stephen Weiss goes down and now Kris Versteeg? The Florida Panthers must have seriously pissed of the hockey gods. If I had to guess, I would blame it on the institution of the Club Red Section because everybody knows that the hockey gods despise exclusivity. How do the hockey gods display their anger? well with injuries off course. The Panthers have been besieged with the injury bug this year and it is one of the many reasons why the team is dead last in the Eastern Conference. Injuries don’t just affect a team in the standings, injuries have also had a major impact on the Panthers’ trade deadline plans.
It seems like whenever the rumors start swirling about Florida trying to trade a certain player, that player goes down with an injury. With his contract expiring at the end of the season it was almost a guarantee that Florida were going to move Stephen Weiss by the deadline but then he had season ending wrist surgery and he became un-tradeable.
Earlier this week, we wrote about how with Weiss off the market, Kris Versteeg would be the most prominent player the Panthers would try to move. Well last night Versteeg went down in a heap after taking a shot from Radko Gudas. The extent of the injury is still not know but if Versteeg misses an extended amount of time his trade value will be completely shot. Versteeg’s trade value was already down as he scored only his second goal of the season in last night’s game. Versteeg has had injury trouble all season and while any contender would love to add his offensive skill set, he won’t be able to help a team if he is always sidelined. Versteeg just signed a four year contract with Florida so the worst case scenario if the Panthers cannot move him at the deadline is they just hope he can regain his health and contribute next season.
UPDATE: It has just been reported, by George Richards of the Miami Herald, that Versteeg will in fact undergo season ending knee surgery.
With this recent news, it looks like the Panthers will have no hope of moving Steeger at the deadline. This is not necessarily a bad thing as Versteeg should be back next season.
With Versteeg’s injury keeping him off the market, who will the Panthers look to move? Tomas Fleischmann is a name that has recently been in some rumors and we could see him moved by the April 3rd deadline. Fleischmann has been productive this season and is tied with Jonathan Huberdeau and Tomas Kopecky as the Panthers’ scoring leaders with 17 points.
GM Dale Tallon will not let the injuries deter him from making some trade deadline deals. If there is one thing we know about Tallon, its that he lives for the trade deadline. We will keep you posted on all the latest happenings and rumors as we approach deadline day. Be sure to follow us on twitter @fansidedtherat for all the latest news.