Red Wings may have suitor for Kindl in Panthers

The Detroit Red Wings aren’t sellers in the traditional sense, but there are still a few cap burdens that the team would like to sell. The polarizing Jakub Kindl is likely one of them, as his $2.4 million contract mostly wastes away while he plays for the Grand Rapids Griffins. But that might not be the case for long, as the Florida Panthers have reportedly shown interest in the 29-year-old defencemen.

Fialkov, who is a Florida Panthers beat writer for the Sun-Sentinel of Fort Lauderdale, notes that the Panthers are somewhat looking for two player traits that Kindl happens to match. The team wouldn’t mind having a couple more Czech teammates for immortal winger Jaromir Jagr, and they’d like to acquire “top Corsi guys“.

Year 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
CF% 51.3 54.2 55.2 51.6 57.6 55.2
CF%Rel -1.9 -1 2 1.1 3.9 6.4

Say what you will about Kindl, but he, at least on paper, is a strong possession player and has consistently improved from a relative standpoint since the beginning of his career. Of course, it’s up to the Panthers, or any NHL team who might have him to balance out the underlying positives with his occasional glaringly obvious gaffes, but on a team that has Roberto Luongo in net and can send out Aaron Ekblad and Brian Campbell in times of need, it might be a worthwhile risk.

While the value of possession stats is still occasionally debated, the last decade or so of data implies that teams that consistently push the puck towards the opponent’s net are more likely to win in the long run. The Panthers are having one of the best seasons in their history and are on pace to win the Atlantic Division, but are also a bottom-10 team in Corsi-For% (47.5). While a team shouldn’t be built around the statistic, the Panthers are aware that it’s an area of need, and with the team being shallow in their bottom four, what better opportunity to experiment with play-drivers?

As for what the Red Wings would get in return, I don’t think it matters all too much to them. Kindl has very much been an “in case of emergency” player for them down the stretch, and with the team being so close to the Cap Ceiling, they’d be very happy to dump the last 16 months of his contract. Once again, Florida seems like a perfect fit, with $5.8 million in real cap space which adjusts to $26.9 million in deadline cap room. They’re also only at 46 contracts, meaning a swap for a conditional pick might be possible.

With that said, I’d expect that the team will ask for partial salary retention, or they’ll dump a cheaper, shorter term contract in return, in order to shed a couple of real dollars and keep room for them to acquire players. Otherwise, Florida would have likely claimed him on waivers when he passed through this week. Fialkov has mentioned that pending RFA Brandon Pirri is “begrudgingly” available from the Panthers, though I’d imagine he’d be used for a bigger piece.

No matter what the case, the circumstances for Monday just got a lot more interesting. The Red Wings might be able to make a move after all; and if this comes with a low-cap return, it might leave room for an upgrade. We’ll know for sure sometime in the next 51 hours.