The Panthers play two games before the league's trading deadline hits midnight, and despite Florida's recent third-period meltdowns, I don't see them as sellers and they don't have enough chips to wheel off to be major buyers either.
The Trade Olli voices are getting louder of late, and that's understandable. The team's late collapses speaks to its very heart, and therefore its leadership. Some of this is on Olli, yes. But it's on everyone on this team -- coach included. These are tough times to be part of the Panthers, especially since the team squandered six points, "earning" just one in the past three games.
Is there time for the Panthers to turn it around? Absolutely. But the team needs to turn on the signal and make their move now. They need to get three points out of Philly and New York, and that's not going to be easy.
-- My take on Olli: The time may just be right for a change of scenery for the Florida captain. He's about to go another season out of the playoffs, and now he's getting real close to Guy's NHL record for most games without appearing in the postseason.
He obviously hasn't been the same since the Richard Zednik incident in Buffalo (zero goals, one assist in past six games after scoring a goal in five straight including the Buffalo game), although he had a bunch of chances last night.
The problem for Florida is, it won't get back what it should for Olli in a deadline deal. Plus, moving your leading scorer and captain isn't real conducive toward making a playoff push.
But the Panthers could be of the mind that, well, they haven't made the playoffs WITH Olli; they can miss the playoffs just as well without him. Tough day for this franchise when that deal is made, though.
And maybe such trade is never done. A lot could happen between now and the playoffs.