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Florida Panthers: Who moves from center to wing?

The Florida Panthers have a shocking amount of depth at the center position for a team that will be picking first overall in the upcoming draft. With plenty of young pivots at the point where they are ready to start contributing at the NHL level some tough decisions will have to be made.

Who makes the NHL team? Who isn’t quite as ready as others on the team? Is there anyone better suited to playing the wing as oppose down the middle?

GM Dale Tallon stated in his end of year press conference that there will be some centers that will be shifted to the wing to allow them to stay with the NHL team. Two of the three top spots will be reserved to Aleksander Barkov and Nick Bjugstad, but who else will stick at center and who are the prime candidates to move over to wing?

Drew Shore, and Vincent Trocheck along with restricted free agent Brandon Pirri will compete for one, maybe two (depending if they sign a veteran free agent) spots on the depth chart at center.

As a team, the Panthers weren’t very good at faceoffs, so that may not be the fairest of comparisons. If we did, Shore had the worst percentage, only winning 41.4% of his draws. Along with their skill in the faceoff dot, defensive awareness and their play in their own zone is another deciding factor in who plays center, and who plays wing.

Centers naturally have more responsibility in the defensive zone, so they must be the most defensive responsible. Trocheck played strong in his own zone, and Shore is known for his two-way play which only leaves Pirri.

Pirri’s knock when he was with the Chicago Blackhawks was the play in his own zone, with his former head coach Joel Quennville buried him on the depth chart due to that fact.

All though taking away space for Pirri to work by limiting him to one side of the ice, a move to wing could actually work for him more than any other current center on the roster. Pirri has proved to be an offensive sparkplug when he gets going, and the Panthers need him to do just that, nothing more, nothing less.

In all honesty this question could become redundant, as Shore and Trocheck are still exempt from waivers and can be sent the AHL without exposing them. So if the Panthers want to continue to take their time developing some of their young players, they can simply start them off in San Antonio.

If not for injuries, Trocheck likely doesn’t see the ice in a Panthers jersey this year and is allowed a full season in the AHL to ease him in. It would actually be smarter to hold Shore and Trocheck back as long as possible, or maybe use one or both as trade bait.

Weird that a team that finished second to last would be making a surplus depth trade, but that is exactly what they could be doing.

What would you do? Do you move Pirri and one of either Shore or Trocheck to the wing and let them start the season in the NHL, or do you take advantage of players returning from injury and let them further develop in the AHL?

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Tags: Brandon Pirri Drew Shore Florida Panthers Vincent Trocheck

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