Feb 17, 2015; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Florida Panthers forward Tomas Kopecky (82) skates against the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre. Florida defeated Toronto 3-2. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
Looking at Panthers whose contracts are up right now, Hockey Buzz shows four players who need to be resigned. Jonathan Huberdeau should be on the top of the list to hang around, but there are no guarantees for the others — former ’Hawks Tomas Kopecky and Jimmy Hayes, as well as Scottie Upshall. And all three are wingers, as is Sharp. Florida also employs Shawn Thornton and could just buy him out if the team desires to acquire Sharp, as the Panthers could do much better at wing than Thornton.
The team is currently looking at cap space in excess of $16 million for the 2015-16 season, so if they decide to part ways with some guys, Sharp could slot right in.
And then there’s this nugget: Tallon recently told NHL.com he’d be willing to trade the team’s first-round pick in the upcoming draft — No. 11 overall — for an established goal scorer. While Sharp isn’t in the prime of his career at this point, there’s no doubt he has made himself a household name around the league with his scoring abilities. Couple that with the indication any possible Sharp trade would happen sooner rather than later — likely before the draft — and you’ve got a very possible Sharp-to-Florida scenario.
A No. 11 overall pick for Sharp is a pretty high give by Florida, though. And considering the ’Hawks have decided to start with a crazy asking price of a first-round pick, an A-level prospect and a top-six forward on an entry-level contract for Sharp, Bowman would have to know any potential deal with Florida (or anyone else) couldn’t include all three of those things. Sharp could go for the pick alone, and the ’Hawks might have to tack something else on in that case.
Looking at prospects the ’Hawks could get from Florida for Sharp, if the draft pick deal is a no-go, the Panthers are like the ’Hawks: deep at defense. With the ’Hawks having so many defensive prospects they’ve resorted to trading them away recently, they might look at forward prospects in Florida.