The Florida Panthers have acquired more depth for their team as the team announced they have traded for forward Jack Rodewald from the Ottawa Senators in exchange for the rights to collegiate winger Chris Wilkie. The Panthers have assigned Rodewald to the Springfield Thunderbirds of the AHL.
The 25-year-old Rodewald has spent the last three years in the AHL after a year in the ECHL, but while he lacks the upside of a top NHL prospect, has proven to be a reliable depth player for the Senators over the years and a solid option at the AHL level as well. The undrafted forward scored 23 goals and 47 points last season for the Belleville Senators, but has gone scoreless in six games for Belleville this season. He has made 10 NHL appearances over his career, but has failed to register a point in any of them.
For Ottawa, the move makes quite a bit of sense. The Belleville squad, laden with a bunch of young prospects, needed to make room on their roster to get more playing time for some of their players. The move of Rodewald should free up more time for several prospects, including Jonathan Davidsson, Max Veronneau and Vitaly Abramov. Rodewald will be an unrestricted free agent next summer.
In exchange for Rodewald, the team acquired the rights to Wilkie, who is in his fourth year of college after spending two years at the University of North Dakota and now is in his second year at Colorado College. In 20 games for the Tigers last season, Wilkie scored six goals and 19 points and seems headed for an even bigger season this year as he already has three goals and six points in three games. A sixth-round pick in 2015, Wilkie may opt to sign a deal once his collegiate season is over this year, but he could also wait until August and become a free agent where he can choose any team to sign with that he wants, assuming there is interest.
What the move also does is free up a contract for the Senators who had 49 contracts before this trade. With Wilkie unsigned, the Senators’ contract number will drop to 48, giving the team a little more maneuverability to make trade or sign players later this season.