Wants and Needs: Florida Panthers

By Chris

The NHL Trade Deadline is Wednesday at 3 p.m., which means there’s not a lot of time left for Sabres General Manager Darcy Regier to evaluate both his roster and the rosters of teams looking to sell. The Sabres should probably be looking for a top-six scorer and a powerplay quarterback. If they can acquire a player or two that meets both needs, then I think we could call March 3 a success.

Welcome to “Wants and Needs” where we’ve been looking at the bottom-feeders to see if there are any players that would fill the holes on the Sabres’ roster.

Today we’re going to look at the Florida Panthers.

Jordan Leopold has already been shipped out and t’s unlikely that the Panthers will move Nathan Horton, Stephen Weiss, Michael Frolik, David Booth, Keith Ballard or Dmitry Kulikov. You might be able to throw Thomas Vokoun on that list as well. General manager Randy Sexton has already said that there will be no fire sale. So of the other players on the roster, who could help the Sabres in the short term?

Stephen Reinprecht (13 goals, 33 points; Contract expires in 2012. Total Salary remaining: $4,902,332)
Cory Stillman (11 goals, 25 points; $3.5 million next season salary)
Radek Dvorak (11 goals, 23 points; $1.8 million next season)

Trading for Reinprecht would be more than a short-term solution. He’d be a player that will be with the team for at least two more seasons. With that in mind, it might cost a little bit more to acquire him and then the Sabres would have to shuffle some personnel around to make room for him.

Fast fact: Reinprecht was traded with Rhett Warrener to the Calgary back in 2003 for Chris Drury and Steve Begin. Reinprecht was on the Sabres’ roster for less than a day.

Stillman is a two-time Stanley Cup champion and could fit in nicely. His offensive numbers are down slightly because of knee injury he suffered earlier in the season, but he’s stormed back since. His salary is high (the Sabres would pay him approximately $768,912 for the rest of the season) but he could help the Sabres in the postseason. If nothing else, the 36-year-old knows how to win.

I’ve never been very high on Dvorak. He seems to be more on the decline than anything but his offensive numbers are decent and his cap hit is low so that’s why he’s on this list.

If Regier ends up making a deal with Florida for a rental player, I think I would be OK with getting Stillman. Of course, it all depends on what Regier gives up, but he would be an improvement over a lot of players on the team. Regier usually flies under the radar and this could be another one of his understated moves.

If nothing else, it would make the No. 61 jersey popular in Buffalo again.