A MAJOR blow in Florida: everything could explode in the next few weeks

January 8, 2023  (1:14 PM)

When Kent Hughes traded Ben Chiarot to Florida for a first round pick in 2023 at the last trade deadline, no one would have believed such a scenario, least of all the Panthers themselves, who hadn't even put lottery protection on their involved pick.

Just a few months later, the Panthers are having a season that has fallen far short of expectations and according to information reported by Marco D'Amico, we are on the verge of a possible major coup in Florida.
The Montreal Canadiens could very well get their second lottery pick, as speculation that the Panthers could potentially become sellers at the NHL trade deadline has begun to mount.
It all started in early December when an NHL source mentioned to Montreal Hockey Now that Florida Panthers general manager Bill Zito could still be aggressive at the NHL trade deadline, but in a different way than last year.
It has been reported that the club's struggles in the first half of this season and the increasing chances of the Florida Panthers missing the playoffs could lead to a potential reset in Florida.
Even though the Florida club has won their last two games, the teams around them in the standings have also continued to win, meaning that their chances, despite the wins, have not improved at all. They're still six points out of the playoffs, and the teams racing against them have played two or three fewer games.
Also, earlier this week, Daily Faceoff's Frank Seravalli reported that the Florida Panthers are a team to watch soon, as they may try to sell some pieces, in an effort to pick up draft picks, just before the 2023 draft.
« The Florida Panthers don't have a first-round pick until 2026, and as shown last season when they were involved in sending Max Domi to a potential Eastern Conference playoff opponent, they could be the middle man in an attempt to get as many bullets as possible in the draft. » - Frank Seravalli

Obviously, if a reset in Florida is in mind, the Habs GM must be rubbing his hands together. By owning their first pick in 2023, if the Panthers decide to sell a piece or two of their roster, it could greatly influence their selection rank in the next draft.
This also means that the Canadiens would potentially have two good draft picks eligible for the Connor Bedard lottery.
If Ben Chariot were to turn into the first overall pick, this trade would automatically make Kent Hughes one of the greatest geniuses of the modern field hockey era.
Credit: Marqueur.com
A MAJOR blow in Florida: everything could explode in the next few weeks

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