Once I started covering the Rampage and AHL hockey in general, the NHL trade deadline day became the most anticipated day of the year for me. This year was no different. With the Panthers struggling in the NHL standings, we all expected them to be very busy jettisoning free agents to be and molding their roster into something they can build upon this summer. What I didn’t expect is for the Panthers, a team very vocal about their desire to build a winning culture in San Antonio, to make move after move that will result in the complete dismantling of the Rampage roster. This team, sitting just 6 points out of the playoffs, will likely have an entirely new look tomorrow morning.
Let’s first recap all of the trades:
– Florida sends Jacob Markstrom (G) and Shawn Matthias (C) to Vancouver for Roberto Luongo (G), Steven Anthony (F)
– Florida sends Mike Weaver (D) to Montreal for a 2015 5th round draft pick
– Florida sends Marcel Goc (C) to Pittsburgh for a 2014 5th round pick and a 2015 3rd round pick
– Florida sends Tim Thomas (G) to Dallas for Dan Ellis (G)
To recap, the Florida Panthers sent four NHL players and one AHL player to various teams and received two NHL goalies and a 23 year old 7th round draft pick currently playing in the Central Hockey League (plus draft picks).
So where does this leave the Rampage? Ellis will stay in Florida and back up Luongo. Recently waived Scott Clemmensen will likely head to San Antonio to finish out his Panthers career splitting time with Michael Houser. Steven Anthony will likely never make it past the ECHL, he was simply a throw in to make contracts match up.
As currently constructed, the Panthers have 6 defensemen and 12 healthy forwards (this includes the recently waived Scott Gomez). This means at least one defenseman and one to two forwards will be leaving San Antonio to round out the Florida roster. Dale Tallon has already stated that Trocheck will join the team for Friday’s game vs. Buffalo.
This still leaves at least two more moves to be made. The Rampage are loaded with vets (7), so the Panthers could bring up Whitney or Mottau as their 7th D and do us a favor. More likely, they will call up Petrovic or Robak to give them some more NHL time. Joey Crabb, Bobby Butler, and Quinton Howden are all names that we could see head up as well.
We’ve heard for the last two plus years how important it is to develop a winning culture in San Antonio from Panthers brass. In a matter of 24 hours, that talk is nothing more than hot air. It’s one thing to make moves to improve your NHL team. That I get. But to make moves, just to get anything– which is what this feels like– at the expense of your AHL team is a little hard to swallow.