When the Florida Panthers landed Jaromir Jagr via trade, it looked like the team was going all-in to make the playoff for only the second time since 2000. Barely a day later the team moved veteran forward Tomas Fleischmann to the Anaheim Ducks for a third-round pick and the ghost of Dany Heatley as the team thought re-signing Fleischmann was unlikely. The differing ideologies could hurt the Panthers in the short and long-term as inconsistencies could keep the team from reaching new heights.
While I think the team got a good haul for a pending free agent and that the trade of fellow pending free agent Sean Bergenheim to the Minnesota Wild was move that needed to be made, I’m still perplexed. Bergenheim requested a trade and having such a distraction in the locker room doesn’t bode well for a team in the playoff hunt; Fleischmann — publicly at least — echoed no such sentiments. Fleischmann was an integral part of the team’s 2012 playoff squad and is more valuable to the team right now than a future asset and a washed up sniper like Heatley.
Another factor in the Fleischmann trade that doesn’t add up is the logic of trading the veteran forward to get younger players in the lineup. That may sound like a valid argument, especially with the plethora of youthful talent in Florida’s system, but given the recent circumstances it doesn’t add up. The team just landed the 43-year-old Jagr who is only young in comparison to Florida’s GM in 64-year-old Dale Tallon.
Inconsistencies like this are part of the reason why the Panthers have been one of the most irrelevant franchises in all of sports. The team has to make a solid choice: Are they trying to win now, which at this point they should be, or are they trying to stockpile future assets? Bringing in Jagr shows the former while moving Fleischmann leans towards the latter. I would’ve liked to see what chemistry formed between the two veteran Czechs as the team would be in the best position to win games and make the playoffs.