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Thursday, March 23, 2023

Panthers acquires iconic blueliner Ben Chiarot from Canadiens

The Panthers Paid A Heavy Price But Got What Was Arguably The Top Shutdown Defenseman Available At The Trade Deadline In Ben Chiarot.
The Panthers paid a heavy price but got what was arguably the top shutdown defenseman available at the trade deadline in Ben Chiarot. (Getty)

The Florida Panthers really are all.

In the most expensive deal ever in the lead up to the NHL’s trade deadline, Panthers have acquired defenseman Ben Chiarotto In lieu of a first-round draft pick in 2023, a fourth-round selection in 2022 and a further possibility for Ty Smilnick.

Montreal will retain half Chiarot’s salary to maximize the Panthers’ financial flexibility after general manager Bill Zito pulled out more than $2.5 million in contract dollars by trading Frank Vatrano to the New York Rangers on Wednesday.

Chiarot is a polarizing figure in the hockey community. He labored through a brutal 2021–22 season before Dominic Ducharme was fired and replaced by current head coach Martin St. As a Hall of Fame forward, Chiaro has shown glimpses of the dominance of the defensive field and the underestimation of the skating and puck that the Canadiens succumbed to on their run in the Stanley Cup Finals last summer. Between Chiarot and the later late Shia Webber and Philippe Danault, Montreal formed a credible shutdown trio that successfully tamed the influences of the likes of Austin Matthews, Mitch Marner, Kyle Connor, Nick Ehlers and Mark Stone on their way to the NHL’s championship series. reduced. ,

Chiarot will likely play a slightly lesser role in Florida, with Aaron Eckblad and Mackenzie Weiger being one of the more influential defensive pairings in the league over the past few seasons. In addition to logging crucial minutes on penalty kills, he likely serves as an upgrade over Radko Gudas, who has been logging a second pair of minutes on the right for most of the season. Although it should be noted that Chiarot can play on either side.

For Montreal, Jeff Gorton and Kent Hughes served the primary and perhaps precarious objective, which was to convert the eliminated asset into a first-round selection. The Canadiens were able to use their cap space to sweeten the pot with an additional pick and prospect to maintain a $1.75 million salary, which is undoubtedly an impressive bit of business.

All told, after completing two deals on the day, the Panthers freed up a little more than $750K after moving deeper — Watrano — out, and brought in arguably the top defensive rental on the market. This leaves them a little more room to maneuver in their quest to complete the roster before Monday’s deadline.

Jeeto has done a tremendous job building the Panthers into something of a competitor over the years, but it’s a step above anything else earned through snow performances. The Panthers are the top team in the NHL’s most competitive division this season, and are on pace for the highest-scoring campaign NHL-wide in 26 years, while averaging more than four goals per game.

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