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Helping the enemy? Florida trades Cory Stillman to Carolina for Ryan Carter and 5th round pick

Feb 24, 2011, 6:03 PM EST

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Florida Panthers v New York Rangers

The NHL trade deadline helps create some strange partnerships in deals. Today Southeast Division rivals Florida and Carolina came together on a deal that sends Cory Stillman from the Panthers back to the Hurricanes in exchange for Ryan Carter and a fifth round pick in 2011.

Stillman is a power forward that used to play for the Hurricanes, winning a Stanley Cup with the team in 2006. Through his career he was a steady 20-goal, 50-point per season player. Lately, his health has gotten the better of him reducing the number of games he’s gotten to play. He hasn’t played more than 70 games in a season since 2007-2008 when he split time with Carolina and Ottawa. This season, he’s played 44 games and has seven goals and 16 assists.

It’s also not the first time that GM Jim Rutherford dipped into the Hurricanes past to bring back a guy that’s helped them out in the past. Joni Pitkanen, Erik Cole, and Anton Babchuk were all reclamation acquisitions for Carolina in their recent history. It’s just all proof that once you’ve been in Carolina, you can always go home again. I guess you can always go home again.

What he’ll provide the Hurricanes with is a veteran presence familiar with how things are done in Raleigh. With the lack of wing depth they’ve got in Carolina, he’ll help them out. He’ll also give them a veteran leader should the Hurricanes make the playoffs. Stillman won Stanley Cups in consecutive seasons with Tampa Bay in 2004 and Carolina in 2006.

For Florida, GM Dale Tallon clears out a veteran forward in order to give more of the Panthers young guys ice time and brings in a checking forward in Ryan Carter who now joins his third team this season. He started the season in Anaheim and was then moved to Carolina in exchange for two minor league players. Now he heads to Florida where he’ll figure to get a better shot at ice time there.

While rumors swirl in Sunrise, Florida about what may or may not happen with the likes of Stephen Weiss, David Booth, and Tomas Vokoun, it’s Stillman who is the next to go. Florida recently dealt Michal Frolik to Chicago for Jack Skille and as the Panthers fall back further in the Eastern Conference playoff race, teams are circling hoping to pick off useful players for their own playoff pushes. Dale Tallon is a guy with a plan, but for now things appear to be down in the dumps for Panthers players and fans as the deadline approaches.

The next few days might be trying ones for fans in South Florida, they’ll just have to hope that Tallon’s plan pays off the same way his plan in Chicago paid off for the Blackhawks last season. The fifth round pick acquired gives the Panthers nine choices in the 2011 draft. With other players still potentially set to be traded, that number figures to go up before the end of business on Monday.

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