Logical: Chris Tierney (25, C, Ottawa Senators)
The logical options on these will be players that make sense for the Florida Panthers to look after but are slightly better than the realistic option. Someone in a very similar situation to Forbort is Ottawa center, Chris Tierney.
While this might not be the first thought for the Panthers in terms of need, with the Cats being one of the highest top-scoring teams in the NHL, the forward depth, especially at center, isn’t ideal for a team that wants to make a deep playoff run.
Tierney was one of the pieces involved in the Erik Karlsson blockbuster, traded to Ottawa after recording his best season for San Jose. Tierney recorded 40 points for the first time in 2017-18 and has continuously built on that season with the Senators.
Motivated to succeed with more shifts than what he got in San Jose, Tierney recorded his best season last campaign. Despite scoring just nine times, Tierney had 48 points in 81 games for Ottawa in his debut season with the Sens.
This season, Tierney has rediscovered both his goalscoring touch and defensive game. In 51 games this season, Tierney already has more goals than last season with a 15.4 shooting percentage and a -1 plus/minus. While Tierney had all nine of his goals last season at even strength, Tierney has scored four shorthanded goals this season, with only one coming on the power play.
Tierney will be an RFA at the conclusion of this season, and while it isn’t too likely he’ll be offer-sheeted, Ottawa may consider moving on if a good enough offer comes.
The key question is whether Ottawa wants to commit to Tierney long term and how important he is to their future. The Senators are locked into just three deals after 2021, with Colin White and Thomas Chabot likely being the only two they value for the future. Ottawa’s future is still very much a mystery, with players like Tierney, Anthony Duclair, Jean-Gabriel Pageau, and Vladislav Namestnikov’s futures all up in the air in this coming offseason if all stay with the club.
Tierney would be a legit 3C for the Florida Panthers. Tierney would provide great defense and some keen creativity over someone like Dominic Toninato on the third line.