Florida Panthers general manager Dale Tallon might have made Friday's trade with his eyes set on bigger moves.
The Panthers hope to take a run at Columbus Blue Jackets stars Artemi Panarin and Sergei Bobrovsky, according to TSN's Pierre LeBrun. Inquiring about the two pending unrestricted free agents before the Feb. 25 trade deadline or waiting until July 1 when free agency begins are both options, LeBrun adds.
Tallon hinted that the latter was more of a possibility.
"We've freed up a lot of space for an aggressive summer in free agency," according to Sportsnet's Chris Johnston.
Friday's deal with the Pittsburgh Penguins certainly puts the Panthers in a better position to do so.
The Panthers now have six picks in the first four rounds of the 2019 draft after Friday's deal. The club only saved $250,000 in cap space this year, but it's possible they could flip pending unrestricted free agents Brassard and Sheahan before the deadline, which would give them more cap space and more draft picks to use as bait in future trades.