Over the last few days, Florida has dealt away some of their defensive assets.
Jordan Leopold has already been traded to Pittsburgh, and, as predicted, Dennis Seidenberg was also involved in a deal.
Seidenberg will be headed to the Boston Bruins, who already have the fifth best defense in the NHL (2.44 goals against per game). Florida also sent another defensive prospect, Matt Bartkowski, to Boston as well.
In return, the Panthers received Craig Weller and Byron Bitz (both are forwards). They also received another second round draft pick.
This season, Bitz has nine points in 45 games with the Boston Bruins. He's going to be a good player in the future, which is obviously where the Florida Panthers are looking.
Bitz's big body will help him develop into a strong power forward, and should help him be a solid goal scorer in upcoming seasons.
He should also fit very well on a line behind Weiss and Horton. The Panthers need more offensive depth, and with Bitz, they've added some of it. They definitely have more work to do in that department.
However, the draft pick they received could help fix this problem as well. This is the second trade in the last few days where the Panthers have acquired a second round draft pick. The first one came from the Penguins a few days ago for Jordan Leopold.
Obviously, the Panthers are setting up for a big draft. After all, that will be where much of their future talent is located. The question is whether or not they use these picks well.
Unfortunately, there's no way to tell until draft day is over.
The other negative to this trade is that the Panthers have gotten rid of some of their better defenders. Now, offensive depth isn't going to be the only thing they need to improve, defense could be an issue that they need to address during the off season as well.
The Panthers are definitely setting up for a busy off season. They are going to be very active in the draft, but more importantly, they are looking to be very active in the free agent market. That is where they will have the ability to fix most of their problems.
See more of Eric's NHL opinions at Tips for Hockey