Florida Panthers Acquire Defenseman Brandon Montour from the Buffalo Sabres:
Early on Saturday afternoon, Florida Panthers GM Bill Zito made another roster move to help bolster the blue line. The Florida Panthers traded a 3rd round draft pick in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft to the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for Defenseman Brandon Montour.
Montour is purely a rental for the rest of this season, as his contract will expire upon completion of the league year. Montour had five goals and nine assists for 14 points in 38 games played for the Sabres this season. His “+/-” may be -13, but that is more indicative of overall team play rather than individual performance (and it’s no question who the absolute worst team in the NHL has been this season).
Montour is going to be carrying some big expectations during his time in Florida, as GM Bill Zito acquired the Defenseman to fill as much of the void possible that was left by the season-ending injury to Aaron Ekblad. The blue line pairings have been a bit of a carousel by Florida head coach Joel Quenneville as they continue to look to adapt to a defensive scheme not involving Ekblad. Montour could very likely come out the gate playing top-pair minutes with Weegar, or he could play bottom-pair minutes with a player like Nutivaara or Keeper. The exact position that Montour will slot into is currently unknown.
One thing is for certain, the Panthers are going to need some major shakeup to break up this current three game losing streak. They are quickly finding themselves fading from first place contention, as Carolina and Tampa Bay will not be easy opponents to simply catch up with in points. The Panthers don’t play again until after Monday’s trade deadline, so further roster shakeup could still potentially happen.
It is unknown at this time whether Montour will be expected to join the team for their next game in Dallas next Tuesday, the 13th. Given it is still a few days from now I’d say it’s more likely he plays than not.