Panthers Bolster Lineup with Trades

The Florida Panthers have made two trades in advance of their stretch run. on Friday, Florida agreed to trade a sixth round draft pick in 2012 to the Nashville Predators for forward Jarred Smithson.

“Jerred is a hard working, responsible, veteran player who plays well at both ends of the ice,” said Panthers General Manager Dale Tallon in a statement released by the team. “He is a very good penalty killer, who has consistently ranked among his team’s leaders in face-off win percentage.”

The 33 year old center has 526 NHL games under his belt with the Los Angeles Kings and Predators. The physical forward has just 36 goals and 89 total points, but brings a greater than 55% face-off percentage, and this season led the Predators with 98 hits.

Saturday, the Panthers added scoring. They received from the New York Rangers, in exchange for AHL defenseman Mike Vernace and a 3rd round pick in 2013.

“We are very pleased to have acquired Wojtek,” said Tallon in another statement. “He is a skilled forward with scoring ability who will fit in very well to our lineup.”

Wolski has suffored through injuries for most of the 2011-12 season, playing just 15 games this season between the Rangers and Connecticut Whale. He has no goals this season, but Yahoo Sports notes he tends to be most successful when he changes scenery:

In 2010, Colorado sent him to Phoenix for Peter Mueller, and he scored 18 points in 18 games. In 2011, he was traded to the Rangers for Michal Rozsival and had eight points in his first 10 games.

In 402 NHL games, the 26-year-old has 91 goals, including 22 in the 2006-07 season with the Colorado Avalanche. The 21st overall pick in 2004 emigrated from Poland to Toronto, ON, in 1990. He is a restricted free agent after this season.

one of Wolski’s positive qualities is his impressive shootout statistics. The Panthers have struggled in the shootout this season, dropping seven of ten attempts, including Thursday’s 3-2 shootout loss to the Minnesota Wild. For his career, Wolski has a shootout success record of 43.1%, or 22-of-51.

Both players help clear cap space for their respective former teams, and the Panthers gave up little in exchange. To make room for the new forwards, Michal Repik and Jon Matsumoto were sent down to the AHL.

Smithson will wear number 25, which also belongs to Jacob Markstrom. Wojtek takes number 8, which was vacant this season.


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