The week heading into the trade deadline was a tough one for the Panthers, who followed up the six-game win streak we highlighted in this space last week with three straight losses. They scored just three total goals in their losing streak, with former Checker Alex Nedeljkovic’s third shutout of the season for Carolina a major factor in that.
That said, the team should get a jolt as Florida made the kind of additions you would expect from a team looking to set itself up for a deep playoff run, adding center Sam Bennett, defenseman Brandon Montour, winger Nikita Gusev, defensive prospect Lucas Carlsson and depth at center with former Checker Lucas Wallmark, who returns for his second stint with the Panthers.
All of those moves were achieved without taking any regular players out of the lineup, though they did part ways with former first-round draft choice Henrik Borgstrom, a former AHL All-Star who spent parts of the last two seasons with the Panthers’ previous affiliate in Springfield, and 2020 second-round draft choice Emil Heineman – not to mention a few draft picks.
Florida will get a chance to try out some of its new additions Tuesday against Dallas before moving on to finish a three-game road swing with a pair of games against the Lightning.
Lock it in! ☑️— Florida Panthers (@FlaPanthers) April 12, 2021
We have acquired forward Sam Bennett and a 2022 sixth-round draft pick from Calgary in exchange for forward Emil Heineman and a 2022 second-round draft pick.
📝 » https://t.co/K5ggXcTLTO pic.twitter.com/DgiV2Xy57Z
SYRACUSE CRUNCHThe Crunch split a pair of games last week, first losing 4-3 to Rochester and then topping Utica, which had just returned to action after a month off due to COVID-19 protocols, by a 5-1 score on Saturday.
Panthers prospect Samuel Montembeault picked up both victories for the Crunch, extending his personal win streak to five games. During that run, he has a 1.78 goals-against average and .937 save percentage with one shutout. Another Panthers prospect, defenseman and 2019 second-round draft choice Vladislav Kolyachonok, made his North American pro debut for the Crunch on Saturday after spending the earlier part of the season in the KHL.
GREENVILLE SWAMP RABBITSThe Swamp Rabbits took four points from their four straight games against the Orlando Solar Bears last week, starting out 0-1-2 before ending on a high note with a 5-0 victory on Sunday. Panthers prospect Patrick Bajkov had four points (1g, 3a) in the week, while goaltender Ryan Bednard stopped 73 of 78 shots in his two starts.
Still third in an Eastern Division that will see the top four teams qualify for the playoffs, the Swamp Rabbits are four points clear of South Carolina, which has four games in hand. Greenville now heads out on a three-game tip to face the first-place Florida Everblades.
IN OTHER NEWS
- The Hurricanes traded Haydn Fleury to Anaheim just before the Monday afternoon deadline. He joins fellow 2019 Calder Cup champions Andrew Poturalski, the current AHL scoring leader, and Trevor Carrick in the Ducks organization.
- San Jose traded Fredrik Claesson, a defenseman who spent most of the 2019-20 season with the Checkers, to Tampa Bay.
We have acquired defenseman Fredrik Claesson from the San Jose Sharks in exchange for the rights to goaltender Magnus Chrona.— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) April 12, 2021
Claesson will be assigned to the taxi squad.https://t.co/eEBB3Hwppq
- Riley Nash is yet another former Checker who changed teams during the week. Despite a recent injury suffered with Columbus, he’s headed to Toronto to be part of the Maple Leaf’s playoff run.
- Zac Dalpe, one of Nash’s former Checkers teammates, is now with the Blue Jackets and scored his first NHL goal since the 2016-17 season on Tuesday.
- In his first opportunity to play since Petr Mrazek returned from injury, Nedeljkovic made 20 saves in his shutout against Florida. Mrazek has played three of a possible four games since his return, and James Reimer will start tonight.
What it's all about ❤️️🖤 pic.twitter.com/aZ7Zn24qTH— Carolina Hurricanes (@Canes) April 9, 2021
- Janne Kuokkanen had a three point night in New Jersey’s win over Buffalo on Thursday.
22-year-olds @jesperboqvist, Yegor Sharangovich and @kuokka22 accounted for all three of the @NJDevils’ unanswered third-period goals en route to a 6-3 win over Buffalo. #NHLStats pic.twitter.com/H6lfWWLDEU— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) April 9, 2021