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Could the Panthers Attempt To Trade Sergei Bobrovsky?

Florida Panthers GM Bill Zito went all-in this season, but having fallen short of winning the Stanley Cup, he must free up salary-cap space for 2022-23.

Florida Panthers general manager Bill Zito went all-in this season, mortgaging part of his club's future to acquire Claude Giroux and Ben Chiarot before the trade deadline. Having fallen short of winning the Stanley Cup, he must free up salary-cap space for next season.

Cap Friendly indicates the Panthers have $3.9 million in cap space with 16 players under contract for next season. Giroux, Chiarot, aging Joe Thornton and spark-plug forward Mason Marchment are their notable unrestricted free agents. 

Florida Hockey Now's George Richards reported Zito didn't get into specifics about his off-season plans during his season wrap-up press conference. The Panthers GM also faces long-term decisions for Jonathan Huberdeau and MacKenzie Weegar with both of them eligible next summer for UFA status.

Following the Panthers' second-round elimination, Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman reported they looked into trading Sergei Bobrovsky during the season, “or at least lay the groundwork to do it.” He didn't know if it was possible to move the 32-year-old goaltender but added they really tried to see if it could be done.

Trading Bobrovsky would free up significant cap space to address the Panthers' immediate and long-term needs. However, he's signed through 2025-26 with a $10-million annual average value and a full no-movement clause. Assuming he'd agree to a trade, his list of preferred destinations could be short. The Panthers would also have to retain a healthy chunk of his cap hit to entice potential suitors. 

That doesn't mean Bobrovsky couldn't be traded this summer. Perhaps a team with plentiful cap space seeking an established starting goaltender, such as the New Jersey Devils, would take the chance if he agreed to the move. Given his hefty contract, however, Zito will have to consider other cost-cutting options. 



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