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How Serious Are Panthers Trade Rumors Regarding Aleksander Barkov?

How closely should we all be watching the Aleksander Barkov trade rumors out of Florida? Is a deal really possible?

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It was learned last week that opposing NHL teams were starting to reach out to the Florida Panthers and let it be known that they’d have interest in talking a trade for star center Aleksander Barkov. While there wasn’t chatter in the marketplace that Barkov was actually available, the belief was apparently that other GMs didn’t think the Panthers would be able to convince the franchise center to stay. In other words, it was only a matter of time before he’d want out.

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TSN’s Darren Dreger spoke more about the rumors while doing an interview on NBC Sports and was asked point blank how serious these rumors actually were. He responded with, “It’s hard to say at this point.” He added that what he knows is that GM Bill Zito and the Florida Panthers believe that they have time and will not need to cross this bridge with Barkov just yet. Zito reached out to Barkov’s representation and said they have no desire to trade the center and that they would like to re-sign him.

Barkov’s people apparently responded that the player simply wants to win and if the pieces are in place to do so down the road, there’s no reason that Barkov won’t listen on an extension or contemplate staying put.

All parties want what Barkov wants, which is to win. They want to be competitive and on the road to being a contending team. Dreger says, if that is the direction the two sides are headed in, this is likely to be less of a story than it is now.

What About Until Then?

Until the Panthers are either competitive or it’s determined they aren’t likely to be, expect talk to continue to surround Barkov. Dreger says that teams are likely to continue to call the Panthers and let it be known that they’re keenly interested in talking deal if the organization gets to the point that one seems necessary.

In short, if the Panthers start winning, this talk likely goes away. If they struggle, trade rumors will get louder and louder.

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