The Florida Panthers Acquire Goalscoring Winger Vladimir Tarasenko

Ottawa Senators v Florida Panthers
Ottawa Senators v Florida Panthers / Joel Auerbach/GettyImages

In Bill Zito's first big swing of 2024, the Florida Panthers have acquired winger Vladimir Tarasenko in a trade with the Ottawa Senators ahead of the 2023-24 NHL Trade Deadline

The Florida Panthers, looking to add to their goalscoring prowess, have acquired Vladimir Tarasenko, at 50% retained salary, from the Ottawa Senators ahead of the 2023-24 NHL Trade Deadline.

Tarasenko, who has 17 goals and 24 assists for a combined 41 points in 57 games played with the Senators this season, has been widely reported to have been seeking a trade to a legitimate Stanley Cup contender for awhile now, and has seemingly found his home - although, this union may be temporary. The Panthers have players like Sam Reinhart, Brandon Montour, and Gustav Forsling to re-sign, so Tarasenko is likely a rental, albeit a very high-end one. Tarasenko is a dynamic two-way player that has proven he can still light the lamp, and is exactly what the Panthers need on their 2nd powerplay unit. Surrounded by the litany of solid two-way players on the Cats' current roster, look for Tarasenko to shine, even at 5v5 hockey.

The return for Tarasenko is a conditional 2024 4th round pick (2026 3rd round pick if the Panthers win the Cup), and a 2025 3rd round pick, meaning Zito is not afraid to continue spending draft capital to bolster the Cats' chances at taking the next step and finally winning a Stanley Cup. Despite the further depletion of the Panthers' draft capital, this can be seen as a clear win for Bill Zito and Co. With the Cats' having just north of $5M in deadline cap space before this trade, and Tarasenko's cap hit coming in at $2.5M after salary retention, could this mean that Bill Zito is done cooking, or is he still in the kitchen? I suppose we shall find out by the end of the week.