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Panthers Will “Look at Everything” Including Unexpected Deadline Trades

Bill Zito says the Florida Panthers will look at every trade option ahead of this year’s NHL trade deadline.

During an interview with TSN Hockey Insider and The Athletic contributor, Pierre LeBrun on Wednesday, Florida Panthers general manager Bill Zito made it very clear the Panthers are keeping an eye on the trade market ahead of the NHL trade deadline. Not only is he likely looking at some of the obvious trades the Panthers have been linked to, Zito acknowledged that the team will be keeping an eye out for trades, ones not even his own organization would have expected could present themselves.

Related: Predators Not Expecting They’ll Make NHL Trade Deadline Moves

“We’re going to look at everything,’” Zito told LeBrun. He added, “Sometimes it’s the deal you never considered or didn’t know that was there that comes up.’” In other words, Zito is going to turn over every rock and look inside every hole. When he’s done, he’s going to see if he should have been looking in other places entirely and he might find something there.

Bill Zito Florida Panthers GM
Bill Zito Florida Panthers GM

As the deadline of March 21 creeps closer, the Panthers are in a good position. They have an NHL-best 69 points heading into the All-Star Break and with a playoff spot well in hand, they’ll have the luxury of looking at different options and time to make the salary cap work. Like many teams, they’re working out of LTIR when it comes to their cap situation, but juggling contracts and making the right moves is a science. The Panthers have time to make calculated calls without the fear of losing a playoff spot.

LeBrun figures the Panthers will focus on experienced forwards and defensemen. Having already been linked to Arizona Coyotes’ defenceman Jakob Chychrun and Ben Chiarot of the Montreal Canadiens, LeBrun’s prediction makes sense.

When asked if what the other teams in his division are doing will matter, Zito said that the moves others teams make aren’t his focus. “… we want to make moves that allow our team, each piece to maximize his value and contribute to the team for the collective to be as strong and valuable as it can possibly be.” If it happens to stop another team from adding the piece the Panthers just added, it’s simply a bonus.

Next: Anaheim Ducks Officially Hire Pat Verbeek as General Manager



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