The NHL’s trade deadline came and went Monday afternoon without the Florida Panthers playing much of a role in the festivities.
General manger Dale Tallon’s heavy lifting was done Saturday when he acquired three new players in separate deals.
The Panthers, still clinging to first place in the Atlantic Division, are ready to make their continued run to the postseason. Florida has made the playoffs just twice since 2000.
“I like our team once we’re healthy, like what our young guys have brought to the table,’’ Tallon said. “We have a lot of depth now with the acquisitions. We had a good week, we improved our club with a defenseman and two forwards.”
Tallon did make one move before the deadline, shipping injured winger Brandon Pirri to Anaheim for a sixth-round draft pick.
Pirri, believed to be shopped by the Panthers since January, is recovering from an ankle injury sustained against Nashville two weeks ago.
Florida didn’t get much of a return back for the 24-year-old, with Tallon saying Pirri’s injury and the fact he is arbitration-eligible after the season — and could command a big raise — scared some possible suitors away.
The Panthers are believed to have had a deal in place with Edmonton before the injury; Pirri would have gone west for Teddy Purcell.
Florida eventually got Purcell for a pair of draft picks Saturday.
“Obviously, we tried to get as much as we could, we wanted to get more,’’ said Tallon, who also acquired winger Juri Hudler and defenseman Jakob Kindl on Saturday. “A couple of things came into play. First, he’s injured a little bit and, second, teams were are concerned about arbitration moving forward and not knowing what his salary numbers would be.”
Pirri had a breakout season last year for the Panthers after Florida gave up a third and fifth-round pick to Chicago before the 2014 deadline.
Pirri scored a career-high 22 goals in 49 games during the 2014-15 season but his production dipped this year (11 goals in 52 games) and he was a healthy scratch by coach Gerard Gallant in four games from Jan. 22-Feb. 2.
With Hudler and Purcell coming aboard this weekend, Pirri’s role on the team was further diminished and, although it was denied last month, the Panthers were shopping him.
It was rumored Florida had a few teams willing to send a second-round pick back.
By Monday afternoon, however, all Florida had was a low-round selection. Pirri goes from a contender in the Eastern Conference to one in the west.
“We wanted to make sure Brandon went somewhere he could have some success,’’ Tallon said. “We liked him, he’s a good player. With the players we added and the young guys we have coming, we felt he needed a chance to show his wares somewhere else. He scored some big goals for us, was great in the shootout and has a lot of upside.’’
Hudler and Purcell worked on their visa issues on Monday and both are expected to make their Florida debut Tuesday in Winnipeg.
Tallon said Purcell should be able to travel with the Panthers for Thursday’s game in Colorado although Hudler still has some work to do but could meet the team in Denver.
Kindl was also activated Monday and is eligible to be in the lineup against the Jets.
“They will all play Tuesday,’’ Tallon said.
▪ With goalie Al Montoya knocked out of Sunday’s loss in Minnesota after a shot to the head, Mike McKenna was recalled from Florida’s AHL team on an emergency basis.
Tallon said although Montoya appears to be OK, bringing McKenna up was necessary.
“Al is day-to-day, I don’t think it’s that bad,’’ Tallon said. “It’s hard to get from Portland [Maine] to midwestern Canada so we wanted to make sure [McKenna] was there to backup in case Al cannot.’’
▪ Florida made a number of other moves Monday, sending Logan Shaw, Kyle Rau, Mike Matheson and Greg McKegg back to its AHL team.
Shaw and Rau were simply paper moves to make them eligible for the AHL postseason; those two will return to the Panthers for Tuesday’s game while Matheson and McKegg will remain in the minors.
▪ Center Derek MacKenzie was placed on the injured reserve Sunday with what is thought to be the result of concussion-like symptoms.
MacKenzie played the entire game Saturday in Columbus but apparently felt the affects afterward.
“He’s doing better, it shouldn’t be long term,’’ Tallon said. “It’s one of those things, a lot of bad luck. We’ve had a lot of guys get whacked. We have to protect our players. It’s unfortunate but we have to get through it and prevent it from happening.”
With McKegg and MacKenzie out, Florida has only three regular centers in their lineup Tuesday.
Tallon said Shaw or Rau could be Florida’s fourth center against the Jets.
▪ Jonathan Huberdeau, out after hitting his head in Florida’s win over Winnipeg on Feb. 20, could join the team during this trip.
Tuesday: Panthers at Jets
When, where: 9 p.m.; MTS Center, Winnipeg, Manitoba.
TV, radio: FSFL; WQAM (560), WMEN (640).
Series: Winnipeg leads 45-34-5.
Scouting report: Florida beat the Jets 3-1 during its previous homestand as Jaromir Jagr netted two goals to move into third on the NHL’s all-time list. The Panthers haven’t won in Winnipeg since 2012 — the Jets’ first season in their new home after relocating from Atlanta.