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Sens flip Tarasenko to Panthers for two picks

Vladimir Tarasenko Vladimir Tarasenko - The Canadian Press

Vladimir Tarasenko is headed south.

The Ottawa Senators have traded the 32-year-old winger to the Florida Panthers in exchange for a 2024 fourth-round pick that will become a third-round selection in 2026 should the Panthers win the Stanley Cup and a third-round choice in 2025. The Senators will retain 50 per cent of Tarasenko's $5 million salary.

TSN Hockey Insider Chris Johnston notes that Tarasenko had strong say in the trade process courtesy of his no-trade clause in regards to Ottawa's modest return.

The Yaroslavl, Russia native has 17 goals and 24 assists in 57 games this season.

Tarasenko signed with the Senators this past offseason on a one-year, $5 million deal. He will become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season.

“Vladimir is a highly skilled and experienced scoring winger who provides our club with another dynamic offensive option as we embark on the remainder of our season,” Panthers general manager Bill Zito said. “We are excited for him to join our team, and to compete for the Stanley Cup once again.”

The two-time All-Star was involved in a deadline deal a season ago, when the St. Louis Blues sent him and Niko Mikkola to the New York Rangers in exchange for a pair of draft picks, Sammy Blais, and Hunter Skinner

Tarasenko was originally drafted by the Blues with the 16th overall pick in the 2010 draft and played there for 11 years before being traded to the Rangers.

In 732 career NHL games, Tarasenko has 287 goals and 615 points.

Tarasenko was a member of the 2019 Stanley Cup-winning Blues. He is an unrestricted free agent at season's end.

Panthers loading up

Florida owns the NHL's best record this season at 43-16-4, holding a three-point lead on the Vancouver Canucks and Boston Bruins in the Presidents' Trophy race, with a game in hand on both teams.

The Panthers are looking to take the final step this season after reaching the Stanley Cup Final last year as wild-card team before falling to the Vegas Golden Knights. 

Prior to their deal with Ottawa, the Panthers were already without a selection in the first two rounds of this year's draft and without their first-rounder for next year. 

The NHL trade deadline is set for Friday afternoon.