A report out of Florida indicates that Panthers forward Owen Tippett may be available. Florida Hockey Now’s George Richards writes that Tippett is a name he’s heard involved in trade rumors, but most likely headed to the Desert in a deal that would involve Jacub Chychrun. The Panthers, Richards indicate, aren’t going to part with their primier prospects like Spencer Knight or Anton Lundell. But Tippett is a name that he could see being flipped to get the coveted Chychrun.
But if the Panthers are really speaking to teams about Tippett, could he be offered elsewhere?
Tippett could help Detroit with Secondary Scoring
Tippett is only 22 and is still considered to have a high ceiling. A trade to get stronger on the backend that involves him makes perfect sense–especially since Florida’s contending window is wide open. But would Steve Yzerman not only be interested in a player like Tippett, but try to bring him in?
He fits the Yzerplan scheme: young player, under team control since he’s a restricted free agent heading into the offseason, and according to scouts and pundits, has the high hockey IQ Yzerman desires in players he brings in. The trade that immediately comes to mind to me is the one that brought in Robby Fabbri–though those circumstances are obviously different.
Let’s face it–he’s not going to flip a Jacob de la Rose for him, either. The Athletic’s Corey Pronman wrote this about Tippett in the offseason, ranking him Florida’s fourth best prospect in the pipeline:
"Tippett’s numbers were good, not great, in his first NHL season, but he was on a deep offensive team. In general I liked a lot of what I saw. I thought Tippett showed his skill and creativity, he made plays with pace and he displayed good vision to go with his shot threat. He’ll never be known for his physical or defensive play, but I didn’t think he looked soft or took nights off. Tippett looks like he will be a quality top-six winger in the NHL as he matures."
There’s one statement there that stands out which might disqualify a deal: he’ll never be known for his physical or defensive play. Oh, you can already hear the fans ripping head coach Jeff Blashill when he would sit Tippett for not playing “responsible hockey” or any other one of the buzz word/phrases that have become common place during Blash’s time on the bench. But there is also something to be said for being proficient in both ends of the ice.
Currently, he has 13 points (5-8) in 39 games and going back to the Fabbri comparison, is just a year younger than what Fabbri was upon his arrival into Detroit. Beyond that, Fabbri’s numbers were actually better than Tippett’s after his second season. Had it not been for an ACL injury that cost Fabbri his entire 2018-19 season, perhaps the price would have been more steep. At the time of the trade, Fabbri had one goal to his name in 2019 through nine games. Fabbri had 32 goals for 73.points in 164 games before putting on the Winged Wheel.
In 91 games, Tippett has 32 points (13-19). Statistically, he’s a bit behind where Fabbri was but is still considered a pretty important piece for Florida.
So after comparisons, would it make sense to make the trade if it’s possible?
Does Owen Tippett fit the Yzerplan?
Tippett would ideally be a great fit as a top nine forward. If we look at the lines Saturday, you could see him slotting in on any of those first three lines which would enrich the scoring potential for both he and his linemates.
But who do you give up for him? This also won’t be a deal like Fabbri’s where he could get a former first round pick for de La Rose. A starting point would have to be Zadina, but to me that would be counterproductive. Zadina and Tippett on a line could be fascinating if it all came together.
Another option would be Nick Leddy, where Detroit could retain salary and throw in either picks or a prospect. But would this make sense for Florida in that he’s an expiring free agent? Though he has the playoff experience to help in a deep playoff run, it might not be enough for the Panthers, though they are without a first or second round pick right now. That could be an enticing sales point for sending Tippett to Detroit if Yzerman throws in a second round pick.
It seems unlikely Yzerman would give up a prospect. He’s mentioned that if it makes sense he’ll do what’s necessary, but through these scenarios, it just doesn’t seem the Red Wings have the assets to make the deal happen–or would be willing to give up the assets to make it happen.
However, if the Panthers are hot for a defenseman and Chychrun’s asking price is too much, Yzerman and Bill Zito could maybe find something that would work for both parties.