Is Vladimir Tarasenko the missing piece to the Florida Panthers Stanley Cup hopes?

The Florida Panthers may have struck gold when they made a trade with the Ottawa Senators to bring Vladimir Tarasenko to Sunrise.
Jan 31, 2024; Detroit, Michigan, USA;  Ottawa Senators right wing Vladimir Tarasenko (91) skates
Jan 31, 2024; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Ottawa Senators right wing Vladimir Tarasenko (91) skates / Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Florida Panthers just made their epic season better by adding veteran Vladimir Tarasenko to the lineup. While the 32-year-old’s best days are behind him, it doesn’t mean Tarasenko won’t be a remarkable addition to a Panthers team that has been beyond hot lately. 

In fact, there is a good chance the former Ottawa Senator, New York Ranger, and St. Louis Blue completes what might be the best team in the NHL as the playoff races intensify. So far this season, Tarasenko has been productive with a Senators team that has underperformed, scoring 41 points in 57 games with 17 goals and a 14.7 shooting percentage. 

He continues to be a feisty player, with 54 hits and 30 blocks, plus a possession quality that remains even despite Ottawa’s struggles this season. It’s clear that he was one of their better players in 2023-24, and the Panthers will likely add him to their middle-six where he can be a depth scoring option and continue what has been a strong season.

Vladimir Tarasenko’s presence may complete the Florida Panthers

Tarasenko could make this Panthers team the best one to date, and this comes two years following a Presidents’ Trophy and a year after they made an unprecedented run to the Stanley Cup Final. Florida also appears to be peaking at the right time as they became the first team in the NHL to reach the 90-point mark amidst what has been an eight-game winning streak. 

They have been one of the league’s best on both sides of the ice, ranking ninth in scoring with 211 goals and second in goals allowed with 150 as of March 5th. Tarasenko’s presence will only improve those numbers, and it shows in his possession metrics at 5-on-5. 

So far, his 49.0 Corsi For Percentage is its highest since the 2019-20 season at 5-on-5, so he’s played a sound role in helping the Senators find ways to get the puck to the net. And as usual, he’s making things tough for opponents when in the defensive zone, finishing with a 91.7 on-ice save percentage in Ottawa.