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Did the Panthers make the right moves at the NHL trade deadline?

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The Florida Panthers have been one of the vital lively groups on the NHL Commerce Deadline, making important additions to what’s already the most effective rosters within the league. They acquired Claude Giroux from the Philadelphia Flyers to make an already imposing offense much more harmful, after which added to their protection by buying and selling for Ben Chiarot from the Montreal Canadiens and Robert Hagg from the Buffalo Sabres.

The Giroux addition speaks for itself. He’s nonetheless a top-line participant, and in solely giving up Owen Tippett and a future (two years from now) first-round draft decide the associated fee was surprisingly low-cost, even for a rental. Giroux solely desirous to play for Florida definitely helped there.

It’s the protection modifications which might be slightly extra curious.

If this Panthers staff has had a weak point this season, its defensive zone protection might need been on the prime of that record. And that was even earlier than Aaron Ekblad went down with an harm. His absence solely elevated the necessity for assistance on the blue line. The query is did they get the appropriate assist for the best way they play?

The Panthers are an offensive minded, aggressive, fast-paced staff that may come at opponents in waves and overwhelm them on the forecheck. They’re the most effective offensive groups within the league has seen in many years, and whereas they do have some muscle and toughness of their lineup, they’re consistently on the assault. They may outscore you, and when they’re at their best possible are able to fully embarrassing opponents.

Chiarot and Hagg do not likely match that fashion of play, and it’s price questioning if including gamers like that to their blue line might need have the potential to carry them again slightly. (That doesn’t even get into the query of why the 2 gamers, who’re very related, have been acquired at wildly totally different prices; Chiarot for a primary, a prospect, and one other decide, whereas Hagg solely price a sixth-rounder).

[Related: Trade: Panthers acquire Claude Giroux from Philadelphia Flyers]

Chiarot was one of the vital talked about defenders main as much as the deadline (and went for one of many highest costs), primarily as a result of he performs a bodily recreation, is thought to be a “stay-at-home” defender that groups like within the playoffs, and since he performed a number of minutes for Montreal on its shocking Stanley Cup Ultimate run a yr in the past.

From a numbers perspective, neither stands out as an affect participant whereas each of their groups have been badly out-chanced, out-shot, and even out-scored after they have been on the ice this season. In equity, each gamers performed for bottom-tier groups that get badly out-chanced, out-shot, and out-scored regardless of who’s on the ice for them. The Panthers will not be solely wildly higher than each Buffalo and Montreal, they’ve additionally had a knack with this present staff for getting essentially the most out of just about each new addition they bring about into the combo. Brandon Montour, for instance, has appeared like a very totally different participant since becoming a member of the Panthers on the deadline a yr in the past. If anyone can get essentially the most out of those guys, it may be this Panthers staff.

However even within the context of these explicit groups, they each did worse with Chiarot and Hagg on the ice than they did with different gamers.

Generally the playoffs, and particularly a person playoff collection, come right down to matchups and one staff with the ability to exploit one other staff’s weak point.

Final yr’s playoff run for Montreal was pushed primarily by a superhuman efficiency by Carey Price in internet(to not point out the Canadian division and the one-year playoff format that bought Montreal into the playoffs within the first place), in addition to an ideal playoff run from Shea Weber. Chiarot spent a number of time within the postseason taking part in alongside Weber throughout that run. Even so, the Canadiens have been badly outscored throughout Chiarot’s minutes, and particularly so when he was away from Weber. This was particularly the case throughout the Stanley Cup Ultimate collection towards Tampa Bay.

[Related: Trade: Panthers pay steep price for Ben Chiarot]

The Lightning outscored Montreal by a 7-2 margin when Chiarot was on the ice and held a commanding shot and probability lead in these minutes, no matter who his protection companion was. When Chiarot was away from Weber, the Lightning outscored Montreal 6-0 and have been much more dominant within the shot and probability class.

Chiarot can be taking part in with higher gamers in Florida, on a greater staff, in a greater system, and virtually definitely with a greater coach. Not all of these numbers have been one hundred pc on anybody participant. It’s a completely totally different surroundings and a brand new yr, and all of that must be taken under consideration. However the reality stays that was a person matchup Tampa Bay badly exploited, as did Vegas within the semifinals to a lesser extent. In complete, during the last two rounds towards the 2 elite groups Montreal confronted within the playoffs, the Canadiens have been outscored 15-6 with Chiarot on the ice and 8-0 when he was on the ice with out Weber. That isn’t perfect. For Florida to get by to the Stanley Cup Ultimate it will must get by groups like Tampa Bay, Toronto, Carolina, Pittsburgh, and/or Washington which have offenses that may exploit particular person matchups like that. When virtually all the things is equal (as is the case with a number of these Japanese Convention contenders) one little matchup like that may be the distinction in a collection.

We noticed the new-look Panthers for the primary time on Thursday night time towards Montreal (Chiarot’s former staff) and the outcomes have been very promising. Florida had one other four-goal recreation, Giroux contributed a pair assists, and each Chiarot and Hagg posted improbable underlying numbers. Positively an ideal begin, and hopefully for the Panthers an indication of issues to return.

The competitors, although, goes to get quite a bit harder over the subsequent couple of months.

They’re nonetheless going to be a fierce staff to take care of within the East and so they have been proper to go all in with this roster on the commerce deadline. When you’ve got an opportunity to compete for a Stanley Cup, you go for it. However it’s nonetheless price asking if Chiarot and Hagg are the appropriate match for the best way this staff performs and the place it needs to go.

Extra NHL Information

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Adam Gretz is a author for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or comply with him on Twitter @AGretz.

Did the Panthers make the right moves at the NHL trade deadline? initially appeared on NBCSports.com



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