The youth movement for the Florida Panthers continued Wednesday — the NHL’s trade deadline — as general manager Dale Tallon announced a handful of moves based on young talent.
In the Panthers’ lone trade at the deadline, they sent 34-year-old center Jerred Smithson to the Oilers in exchange for a fourth-round pick in June’s draft. Smithson had six points in 51 games this season for Florida.
The team also announced the signed of two draft picks to entry-level contracts.
Florida agreed to terms with 19-year-old defenseman Jonathan Racine (the team’s third-round pick in 2011) and 20-year-old center Nick Bjugstad (the team’s first-round pick in 2010).
Racine had 21 points in 61 games for Moncton of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League in 2012-13.
“We are pleased to have signed Jonathan to an entry level deal. He is a hardworking and physical player who is ready to make the transition from juniors to the professional level,” Tallon said in a release. “We look forward to his continued growth and development within our organization.”
Bjugstad was tied for eighth in the NCAA in scoring for the University of Minnesota this season.
“We are extremely pleased to have signed Nick,” Tallon said in a release. “He is a young, talented and physical forward that excelled during his time at the University of Minnesota. Nick is one of our top prospects who has great vision at both ends of the ice and possesses a strong hockey sense. We look forward to his continued development as he takes this next step in his hockey career.”
The Panthers are nine points behind the Islanders for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with 11 games remaining in the regular season. The Panthers next face the Capitals on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. in Sunrise, Fla.