SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) — Florida added three players with postseason experience to its roster on Saturday, and did so without having to give up anything other than draft picks.
The Panthers landed forward Jiri Hudler from the Calgary Flames, forward Teddy Purcell from the Edmonton Oilers and defenseman Jakub Kindl from the Detroit Red Wings in three separate deals, giving the team plenty of newfound depth as it tries to make the playoffs for just the second time in the last 15 seasons.
Calgary got a second-round draft pick this year and a fourth-rounder in 2018 for Hudler, Detroit got a sixth-rounder in 2017 for Kindl and some cash considerations, and the Oilers took this year’s third-rounder from Florida for Purcell.
"It gives us three wonderful scoring lines and a fourth line that will be invigorated," Panthers general manager Dale Tallon said. "It gives us depth at those positions and gives our coaches an opportunity to have different looks on the power play and different looks for the other teams to match up against."
The Panthers lost 4-3 in overtime at Columbus on Saturday and have the second-most points in the Eastern Conference with 78, tied with the New York Rangers in that department. Washington, with 94 points, is far and away the East leader.
But sensing a playoff opportunity now, Tallon wasn’t shy about giving away draft picks that he’s stockpiled as part of rebuilding the Panthers, and considered it a bonus that he was able to get these three deals done without trading away anyone off the current roster, any future first-rounders or any of Florida’s best young prospects.
"We’re really deep," Tallon said. "We’ve got a lot of prospects … a lot of good players all over the world."
And the Panthers will keep their eyes open until Monday’s 3 p.m. Eastern trade deadline as well.
"Who said we’re done?" Tallon asked.
Hudler, Purcell and Kindl won’t be with Florida on Sunday when it visits Minnesota. All three are expected to play when the Panthers go to Winnipeg on Tuesday, and then for Hudler and Purcell the future is a bit uncertain. Both have visa problems to work out, meaning there’s a chance that neither may be eligible to play Thursday when Florida goes to Colorado.
Tallon said the team would start working on expedited visa solutions on Monday in Canada.
"I didn’t know where I’m going to end up," Hudler said. "I’m really excited, really happy to go to a young team like that. The way they play, they’re in first place, so it’s really exciting for me."
Hudler also was excited to reconnect with his former Czech national teammate, Jaromir Jagr.
"I know Jags for a long time," Hudler said. "He’s a living legend."
Hudler had 10 goals and 25 assists in 53 games with the Flames this season and has appeared in 77 playoff games in his career. He also was part of Detroit’s Stanley Cup-winning roster in 2008 and last year won the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy — the league’s sportsmanship award.
Hudler has 155 goals and 251 assists in 657 regular-season games over parts of 11 seasons with the Flames and Red Wings.
Kindl recorded 68 points in 273 games with Detroit, plus has played in 19 playoff games. Purcell had 11 goals and 21 assists in 61 games with Edmonton this season, and has 22 playoff games under his belt.
"These guys give us some solid experience and playmaking ability and hockey sense," Tallon said. "It just completes our team a little bit more, gives us many more options. It takes an army to get to the playoffs."