Panthers To Look Into Acquiring Defenseman If Season Starts Poorly

There was a toll taken on the Florida Panthers during their Stanley Cup Final run. They might have won three rounds, but they got really banged up, so much so that they aren't healthy to start the 2023-24 season and are missing some key players. Both Aaron Ekblad and Brandon Montour are going to be out a while to begin the season, leaving the defense very weak and exposed.

Both play on the right side, so right now, the depth chart on the right side has Josh Mahura, Dmitry Kulikov, and Mike Reilly. This could go bad really quick as the Panthers were already an offensively-focused team and lacking in their own end. The goaltenders are not going to have an easy time in net.

None of those right side options played over 20 minutes a game last season. Mahura has played 161 career NHL games, Kulikov is a sixth defenseman at best at this point in his career, and Reilly wouldn't be in the NHL if the team was healthy. He played just 10 games last season in Boston.

The Panthers' problem is that they have dumped too much cap into their forwards and goaltending, leaving very little to work with on defense, even this season after Keith Yandle's big buyout hit dropped. There are lots of options to trade for if the Panthers need the help they are expected to need this season.

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