NHL Trades: 5 Reasons Tomas Kopecky and the Florida Panthers Are a Perfect Match

Mark Pare@NEPats17Correspondent IIJune 29, 2011

NHL Trades: 5 Reasons Tomas Kopecky and the Florida Panthers Are a Perfect Match

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    Tomas Kopecky's rights were traded to the Florida Panthers for a seventh-round pick.

    Although pen hasn't hit paper, Kopecky will be due for a pay raise this season after posting a career-high 15 goals and 42 points.

    Florida clearly wants him badly as they could not wait to start discussing a contract with the two-time Stanley Cup Champion.

    It would make sense for Kopecky to land with the Panthers, and here are five reasons why.

Bringing in a Winning Attitude

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    Tomas Kopecky has always been associated with successful teams. Since arriving in the NHL after the lockout, he has played for the Detroit Red Wings and the Chicago Blackhawks.

    Kopecky has constantly been improving as a player, posting a career-high every season.

    The important thing that Kopecky brings to the table are on his fingers: two Stanley Cup rings, one with Detroit in 2008 and one with Chicago in 2010.

    Of course, in 2008 with Detroit, Kopecky didn't play a post-season game due to a torn ACL, but his time in the Red Wing organization was vital in his improvement.

    With the Blackhawks, Kopecky emerged as a great addition. His presence was shown in the Stanley Cup Final against the Flyers, scoring the winning goal of Game 1.

    Florida would be a new challenge for Kopecky as the Panthers haven't made the postseason since the 1999-2000 season and haven't won a playoff series since their Cinderella run to the 1996 Stanley Cup Final.

    Kopecky's presence in the Panther locker room is sure to be a boost for a young, up-and-coming team.

Helping the Panthers Hit the Salary Floor

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    The Panthers came into the offseason facing a situation most of the low-budget teams were facing: hitting the salary floor.

    With over $20 million left to spend before reaching that $48.3 million salary minimum, the Panthers have some work to do, and it starts with Tomas Kopecky.

    With the Panthers wanting to be competitive again, rest assured the Panthers will need to give Kopecky a lump sum. How much? Continue reading...

Definite Pay Raise

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    Tomas Kopecky made $1.2 million dollars with the Blackhawks last season on a team that was limited when it came to cap space.

    In fact, Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Marian Hossa, Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook and Brian Campbell took up over $36 million in cap space.

    With the Panthers looking to hit the league minimum and Kopecky holding a vast amount of experience, you should expect an upwards of $2-3 million a season.

    One can assume and we will see what the details are by July 1...possibly.

Becoming a Leader

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    With all the experience that Tomas Kopecky brings to the table, he has the ability to become an unsung hero for this club.

    Stephen Weiss and David Booth have become leaders for the Panthers and with a championship resume coming in, Kopecky is another guy to add to that list.

    Whether it be in the locker room, with the younger players, or by example, on the ice Kopecky has the ability to start in a fresh environment and show what he has learned from the Lidstroms, the Zetterbergs, the Sharps, and the slew of other proven leaders he has played with—and I'm not including his appearance with the Slovakian team during the Vancouver Olympics.

    Kopecky will be a top-six player for this team and has the opportunity to make himself into a household name in Florida.

We're Not Alone

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    This is a small, yet important factor in making a decision like signing with a new team.

    Most players are coaxed in different ways to join a new team via free agency. In this case, Kopecky has management wanting him to sign quickly and has a recent teammate from the Hawks in defenseman Brian Campbell.

    Campbell was traded to the Panthers for Rostislav Olesz, so Kopecky won't be the only one bringing the championship rings to south Florida.

    This is also a good thing as both players can get used to the area and if their voices are heard, we could see a Panthers team that finishes above .500 for the first time since the 2008-09 season.

    What will Kopecky do? Will he sign with the Panthers or opt for unrestricted free agency? We will soon find out. 

    What do you think?