With 14 games remaining on Florida's regular season schedule for 2013, Sports Club Stats is currently stating the Cats will require a truly miraculous 11-1-2 stretch run to gain the Eastern Conference's eighth seed for a return to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. While not a statistical impossibility such a massive turnaround in fortune is, putting it kindly, extraordinarily unlikely given the Panthers' collective state of affairs (read: injuries) over the first three-quarters of the shortened campaign.
Having stated the obvious up there, most on planet Earth have accepted - and in many cases embraced - that Dale Tallon will have himself a golden opportunity for another tear-down, his second such occasion since incinerating a spinning-the-wheels organization stacked with deadwood prospects and bloated contracts in February of 2011. The effort was of course rewarded later that summer, as the Cats claimed 13 players in the Entry Draft, and have continued to develop and groom young talent in what appears to be the club's number one priority. And why shouldn't it be? If even a quarter of the prospect crop eventually sticks at the NHL level, the foundation will have been laid for consistent future success...if the right complementary pieces are plugged in along the way.
Alright, gone way too long here, so let's get right to it: Florida will be a major "seller" on Wednesday, at least in theory. We've discussed in thread after thread for weeks that the Cats need to move some contracts (expiring and otherwise) and a few generally ineffective role players, both of which make dealing either of them difficult. Not going to get into a drawn-out, graphical, detailed examination of the pros and cons of each member of the roster (take that challenge up in the comments as you wish) so we'll keep it simple in the poll below, which does not include players on entry-level contracts (Drew Shore, Jonathan Huberdeau, Colby Robak, Quinton Howden, Jacob Markstrom), nor those currently on injured reserve who thus cannot be dealt anyway (Stephen Weiss, Kris Versteeg, Jack Skille, Sean Bergenheim, George Parros, Michael Caruso, Mike Weaver, Ed Jovanovski, Jose Theodore). That said, there's not much that actually can be moved.
If I'm incorrect on the status of any of these please do let me know below. All salary/contract info via CapGeek.
Related: check out SB Nation's 2013 NHL Trade Deadline StoryStream regularly for all the latest news, rumors, and fan perspective.