Florida Panthers trade Drew Shore to Calgary Flames for Corban Knight

The team sends fan favorite, prospect, and AHL all-star north of the border.

It feels like this article should start with a pause, because thats what the trade of Drew Shore for Corban Knight inevitably leads to. When the news hit, I had to re-read it again to make sure I got it right. In strict deal terms, it goes like this:

Florida sends AHL All-Star Center Drew Shore to Calgary straight up for center Corban Knight.

If the name "Corban Knight" sounds familiar, its because he was drafted by the Panthers in the 5th round of the 2009 NHL entry draft. Knight went on to have a stellar career at the University of North Dakota. At the conclusion of his time in Sioux Falls, however, it became clear that this Hobey Baker finalist was not going to sign with the Cats and would hit free agency. The Panthers ultimately traded his rights to Calgary before he could do so, and he ended up signing with the Flames in 2013. Since that time, Knight has not been setting the world on fire. The young center has played 9 NHL games and has one goal. He has also played 92 games in the AHL and contributed 26 goals and 30 assists. Knight is listed at 6'0, 200 lbs. and plays right-handed.

The name "Drew Shore," on the other hand, conjures memories of a stellar rookie campaign playing between fellow freshman Jonathan Huberdeau and a resurgent Peter Mueller during the lockout shortened 2012-13 season. Shore potted 3 goals and 10 assists in 43 games that season, on what was the Panthers only decent line. He has played 67 NHL games, with 8 goals, 12 assists, and 20 points. Shore stood out with his hard nosed two-way play and face-off prowess. Shore has been an AHL standout, and was again named to the AHL All-Star team this season (with fellow Rampage forward Bobby Butler). He has been contributing almost a point-per-game this season for the Rampage. Perhaps most important for figuring this trade out is that Shore will be an RFA at the conclusion of this season and typically plays center. He could play only two more NHL games before having to clear waivers to move between San Antonio and Sunrise. Also of note was that the Rampage's top center played for the United States World Championship team last season and had 2 points in 7 games, including a nifty between-the-legs goal that displayed remarkable skill. Shore is 6'3", 205 lbs, and also shoots right-handed.

All Panthers fans are aware of the center logjam that exists at the center position in South Florida with Nick Bjugstad, Aleksander Barkov, Dave Bolland, and Derek MacKenzie all holding down the middle of the ice for the Cats for the foreseeable future. This seems to be leading to Vincent Trocheck, Brandon Pirri, and Rocco Grimaldi moving away from center to the wings. Why this was not in the cards for Shore is a big mystery. It could be that he simply cannot adjust to the wing. It could be that the Cats were worried about losing Shore for nothing as an RFA this summer with no center position to offer him.

I will add just one thing to consider (while scratching my head on this one): The vast majority of Shore's points have been assists. He is certainly a keen playmaker who made Huberdeau and Mueller better, and at the AHL level was doing the same for Butler and Garrett Wilson. The Panthers seem well equipped with playmakers, such as the afore-mentioned Huberdeau and Barkov, as well as Jussi Jokinen and Bolland. The team lacks greatly in the goal scoring department, and Knight's AHL points are more evenly split between goals and assists. It may just be that the Panthers believe that Knight is more capable of scoring goals from the wing. On the other hand, it could be that Knight offers more years of contract waiver possibilities and time to figure out the roster than Shore's upcoming RFA status did. Regardless, its a bitter pill to swallow for the large number of Panther fans who loved the young American's contributions during what was a horrible 2012-13 season with few other shining points to remember.

Good luck Drew, you will always be much loved here at LBC, and welcome to Corban Knight, who we hope will make us forget how he spurned us coming out of college. Trust in Dale?