Florida Panthers Deal Jordan Leopold to the Pittsburgh Penguins

Eric LaForgeCorrespondent IMarch 1, 2010

SUNRISE, FL - FEBRUARY 5: Jordan Leopold #44 of the Florida Panthers skates with the puck against the Calgary Flames on February 5, 2010 at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Florida. The Flames defeated the Panthers 2-1. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)
Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

There are only three days between the end of the trade freeze and the beginning of the trade deadline, and it's not surprising that the Florida Panthers made a move on the first possible day.

As of this morning, Jordan Leopold is a Pittsburgh Penguin.

In return for Leopold, the Florida Panthers received a second round draft pick for the upcoming 2010 draft.

The trade didn't involve Reinprecht, like I predicted, or Vokoun like many others predicted. However, I'm not surprised the Panthers went after a pick. It's unlikely that the Panthers would be able to get a fair deal on any player that would make a difference this season. They were kind of forced into a pick because that's one of the places they will be able to get the most help.

Of course, there won't be many players that will be able to jump in and immediately make a difference after they're drafted, especially in the late second round. Obviously, any player they get during the draft will need a few years before he can help the team.

Personally, I think they could have gotten a little bit more. They could have gone after another prospect, but it's clear that the draft is going to be a top priority for Randy Sexton. And the biggest improvements will come in free agency.

Really, the defense for the Florida Panthers has been pretty solid. It's the offense that has been costing the team. Giving up a big part of that defense in Leopold means that Sexton is willing to give up some of their strength for future success. It's a prime example of the Panthers selling their assets.

However, I'm not sure whether or not this is going to be the "shakeup" that Randy Sexton promised. He certainly made it sound like there was going to be a much bigger trade, but at the same time, he is thinking about long term success. There's no way to be sure what's going to happen next, or if there will even be another trade involving the Panthers.

There has been a lot of speculation about possible trades that they could make, most notably, the Vokoun trade with Chicago. From what I've heard recently, it's very unlikely that Vokoun will end up in Chicago, or even be traded at all. However, the Panthers are still selling some of their assets, and are definitely not making a playoff run.

See more of my NHL opinions at Tips for Hockey

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