Sens winger Vladimir Tarasenko headed to Florida in pre-deadline deal
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Atlantic Division rival makes major deadline acquisition; how will the Leafs respond?

Published March 6, 2024 at 12:17

For the Toronto Maple Leafs, this is a very important trade deadline, largely because of the creativity that the Leafs will need to operate with in order to make the team better before the playoffs. Now, the Leafs' deadline plans have become even more important as one of their primary Atlantic Division rivals have made a significant splash in the trade market.

According to St. Louis Blues correspondent Andy Strickland, the Florida Panthers have acquired Vladimir Tarasenko from the Ottawa Senators in exchange for a pair of draft picks. Tarasenko will come in at 50% of his contract, totaling $2.5M on the Panthers' cap.

The long-time Blues winger won a Stanley Cup with the team back in 2019 and has since spent time with both the New York Rangers and Ottawa Senators prior to today's deal that will see him join an already formidable Panthers team who is hungry for another run at a Stanley Cup this season after losing to the Vegas Golden Knights in the Stanley Cup Final in 2022-23.

For the Leafs, it's now become very simple; either Brad Treliving decides to add bolster his group knowing full well that they may run into an improved Panthers team in the playoffs, or the Leafs do nothing or next to nothing and just hope that an increased effort from the stars and a little luck allows them to sneak past Florida this year.

There are a number of players whom the Leafs have been connected to ahead of the deadline who could make a world of difference for this team, but the cost of acquisition may be prohibitive for a lot of these teams, including Noah Hanifin, as the cost to acquire him would likely involve a piece that the Leafs don't want to move in a deal for a rental, like Easton Cowan or Fraser Minten.

For the Panthers, they're adding a tenured NHL veteran with a lot of playoff experience and a Stanley Cup ring without subtracting anything off the roster. It's a no-brainer for them.

Tarasenko has produced 17 goals and 41 points for a downright awful Ottawa Senators team this season in 57 games. There's no question that the Panthers just got a whole lot deeper on the wing.

March 6   |   495 answers
Atlantic Division rival makes major deadline acquisition; how will the Leafs respond?

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