It looked like the Florida Panthers were getting an inexpensive depth addition for a potential playoff run when they convinced KHL veteran Bogdan Kiselevich to come to North America last summer. The 28-year old defenseman had been an excellent player for years, suiting up at the World Championships and even the Olympics for Russia. That playoff run hasn’t gone according to plan though as Florida finds themselves near the very bottom of the Eastern Conference standings after a seven-game losing streak. If the playoffs are out of the question the Panthers aren’t going to hold on to Kiselevich, who is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, as Darren Dreger of TSN reports that GM Dale Tallon has informed the rest of the league that the Russian defenseman is available for trade.
While that news may not be surprising, Kiselevich could very well be a savvy pickup for a playoff team looking for depth. Despite averaging fewer than 15 minutes a night, Kiselevich has actually been relatively effective for the Panthers, recording eight points in 31 games and posting positive possession statistics. Though he’s not going to step into a first pairing and change the outlook of a blue line, there’s reason to believe he could be a third-pairing upgrade especially given his experience in pressure-heavy tournaments and playoff situations in Russia.
An easy comparison for Kiselevich is the Washington Capitals acquisition of Michal Kempny last season. The smooth-skating Kempny was picked up in mid-February by the Capitals for a third-round pick and found immediate success in his new home. He would go on to be a key player in a Capitals Stanley Cup run, and earned himself a four-year extension. There are much less successful examples, but that’s the one teams will point to in order to justify acquiring Kiselevich over the next few weeks. We’ll have to wait and see if he can have the same kind of impact.