NHL Rumors: Florida Panthers & Columbus Blue Jackets Talking Trade?

The Florida Panthers and Columbus Blue Jackets have been linked in trade discussions, primarily concerning a defenseman, according to Florida Hockey Now's Jimmy Murphy.

It's reported that the Blue Jackets have been actively seeking to trade a defenseman, with players like Erik Gudbranson, Adam Boqvist, and Andrew Peeke potentially available.

The 23-year-old Boqvist, a former first-round pick (8th overall) by the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft, had a career-best season last year, scoring five goals and 24 points, along with a -12 plus/minus rating over 46 games played last season.

In the case of the Panthers, their interest in bolstering their blue line has been noted, but they face challenges due to salary-cap constraints.

Peeke, known for his role as a stay-at-home defenseman, scored just six goals and 13 points across 80 games, with an atrocious -41 plus/minus rating last season with Columbus.

Over his four-year career, the 25-year-old has scored nine goals and 34 total points across 195 games played, along with a -58 plus/minus rating.

Once defenseman Aaron Ekblad comes off long-term injury reserve, the Panthers will need to create cap space to accommodate his return in January.

While they do have some room to add a player like Boqvist with a $2.6 million cap hit, they might opt to wait until closer to the March 8 trade deadline.

This situation suggests that while a trade between the Panthers and Blue Jackets is possible, the timing and specific details would depend on how both teams manage their salary cap situations in the coming months. Photo Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports