Steve Gorten of the Florida Sun-Sentinel is reporting that Nathan Horton is on his way out of Florida as Dale Tallon begins the task of remaking the Panthers. Horton is going to be a hot commodity as the draft approaches - he's a 6'2" 230 lb forward, already a proven 25 goal scorer and only 25 years old. He's under contract for three more seasons at only $4,000,000 per season. If Tallon is going to make his mark on the franchise, trading Horton might be the one move that lands Tallon the ever-treasured "assets" by way of draft picks and young talent.
But more confusing is that there is a chance that Stephen Weiss might be available, as per Darren Dreger at TSN. Weiss is under contract for three more seasons at a cap hit of $3,100,000, which makes him all the more valuable to nearly every team in the league.
I understand Tallon wanting to put his mark on the Panthers, but moving Weiss makes little-to-no sense right now. Regular readers know how I much I value Weiss as a trade target. He's playing on a sweetheart contract, he's a tough minutes outscorer, and he's above-average on the power play and penalty kill. He's an ideal addition for nearly every team in the league, the Oilers are no exception. But he's also logged the tough minutes in Florida for three years in a row. If Tallon's intent is to develop a young team, someone has to be there to handle tough minutes, and if that someone is able to outscore them, hurrah for Florida. Trading Weiss means that some young center and Michael Frolik are going to face the toughest in the East on their own and likely get smoked.
The problem with the Oilers and Panthers coming together as trading partners, though, is that the fit is all wrong. The Panthers want a high-end young wing or a lottery pick as part of the deal. The Oilers can't offer either one.
Are there enough ancillary assets in the organization to swing a deal with Florida for Weiss? Remember, even though Tallon overloaded the Blackhawks with a plethora of really terrible contracts, he did quite well for himself on the trade market, and would likely have the upper-hand on Tambellini in negotiations as there is going to be heavy demand for Weiss. Is Weiss even worth pursuing considering that he's only under the Panthers' control for three more years?
I don't know how the Oilers could make a deal work that would make sense. One team that does seem to have a desperate need for Weiss is the New Jersey Devils, a team with one center, Travis Zajac, and a whole bunch of wings. The problem there is, once again, fit. The Devils don't have any young wings under contract except for Zach Parise, who won't be moving anywhere. In fact, the Devils don't have many young prospects in the system at all, and they don't have a first-round draft selection this year either.
The team that seems to make the most sense is Philadelphia. With about $8 million in cap space and a desperate need for three defensemen and a goaltender, trading Jeff Carter for Weiss trims $1.9 million from the cap this season and gives the Flyers the breathing room to add quality in goal and on defense. The Panthers get a proven goal-scorer in return, one that will be a restricted free agent and someone to build a top line around in conjunction with Derek Roy.