It’s pretty much all but guaranteed that the Florida Panthers won’t be losing Derek MacKenzie or Colton Sceviour to the Vegas Golden Knights. Since the retirement of Shawn Thornton, they’ll need to find someone new to slot in on the wing as well.
This is also MacKenzie’s last year on contract and with the amount of centers waiting to come up through the ranks, I’d say the chances of him re-signing are low. As for Sceviour, who’s contract also expires come the end of the 2018 season, he’s much more probable to re-sign on another short term deal.
Well we’ve seen that Malgin’s game thrives in the offensive zone, so the last place you’d want to put him is back on the fourth line. As for McCann, he seems to be a true center but just like Malgin, he isn’t quite built to be on the “checking” line.
Hawryluk, known for his offensive prowess as well but also brings a tenacity to his game, being able to get under the opponents skin. Rau Is another viable option, he played in 24 games with the Panthers last season, primarily on the fourth line. If he re-signs with the team, Michael Sgarbossa is also another option with almost 50 NHL games logged.
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The Panthers could also take a different avenue such as free agency, like they did last offseason with Sceviour. Not a wide selection, but they may be able to find a diamond in the rough like they did with Jonathan Marchessault.
Trade is always there too but I think the plan is and ultimately should be, to build from within. There are young guys who are ready to make the next step. It’ll be interesting to see who breaks out in this years training camp. Denis Malgin did last year and ended up playing in 47 NHL games (Bjugstad injury also played a part). Of course with a few bumps along the way, but as a rookie it happens.
Either way, look for all four of the aforementioned to make a strong push for the opening night roster.