New General Manager Dale Tallon is ready to remake this team in his image. He has challenged the players to prove they should be a part of his plan. Even before Tallon was hired, ownership warned the fans that big changes were in store and asked that judgement be reserved until the process is complete. They have essentially let it be known that no one is untouchable anymore and all players are potentially available to interested teams. Assistant GM Mike Santos has additionally stated that no contract negotiations will take place with the team's pending unrestricted free agents before the end of the season. With the Panthers several points out of a playoff spot with less than a month to the trade deadline, the time has come for Tallon to make changes. Over the next couple of weeks, LBC will be profiling some of the more prominent members of the Panthers roster.
Player: Radek Dvorak
Position: Right Wing
Contract: $1.8mil, UFA
Pro-Rated Cap Hit: $374,731
Panthers Tenure: Drafted 1995 by Panthers. Traded 1999. Signed as a free agent July 2007.
Radek Dvorak's career statistics
*All pro-rated cap hits approximate.
Speedy wing Radek Dvorak is the last link to the 1996 Panthers team that played in the Stanley Cup Final and one of the few current Panthers to have played that far into the playoffs at all. He made it to a second Cup final in 2006 with the Edmonton Oilers, who lost to the Carolina Hurricanes.
Dvorak is a speedy winger who was expected to be a goal scorer, but has had only one 30-goal season, in 2000-2001 for the New York Rangers. He usually scores between 10 and 15 goals a season, but has only 7 so far this year.
Who may have interest: There have been a lot of teams scouting the Panthers in recent weeks and a few of them could use a veteran penalty killer. Playoff teams with a below-average penalty kill include the Stars, Blackhawks, Coyotes and Hurricanes and all have scouted the Panthers recently. He was previously linked in rumors to the Flyers, before they traded for Kris Versteeg and to the Penguins, along with all of the other Panthers UFA forwards.
Why he'll be traded: Dvorak is a speedy skater who, though he doesn't score often, is still an offensive threat when shorthanded. He is a veteran player who has been to the Stanley Cup Finals twice and has a low cap hit. Even cap-strapped teams can make the space for him.
What will the Panthers get back: Draft picks. Dale Tallon has stated that he intends to acquire more draft picks for this summer. He'll be looking for as many second and third-round picks as he can get for his pending unrestricted free agents.
Why he'll stay: He's lost a step in the second half of this season. Teams looking for a playoff veteran will have more interest in Cory Stillman, whose play is strong even though he doesn't skate very fast. He only has 2 goals and 5 assists in 39 playoff games for the Panthers and Oilers.