Welcome to the second annual edition of Free Agent Frenzy at The Box. The term "what a difference a year makes" is not only boring and cliche, but rather true in our case: twelve months ago, Randy Sexton - who remains our very serious candidate for "Den of Honor" inclusion after keeping the club afloat through one of its darkest periods - was retained as assistant GM (behind no one) when Jacques Martin left for bleu, blanc, et rouge pastures, Ville Koistinen was the big signee, and the Panthers were For Sale, the "kiss of death" for any UFA period.
And now? No longer for sale, the Florida organization - as a whole - has a completely foreign outlook on the future: "It's an entirely different place to work" since Dale Tallon assumed command, The Box was told by an associate of the club on Thursday. "It's like we have a chance to win, for real this time; big breath of fresh air. Dale's a regular guy."
I'm a "regular guy" too, minus my need for this every six weeks or so. Whatever; still younger than Brind'Amour.
So off we go into the whirlpool that is the start of free agency in the National Hockey League. Post time is 12pm, EST. We'll be here all day, so keep checking in for updates. Feel free to send a pizza.
No idea what's on tap, so follow along, comment on the ridiculous rumors, make some up, and enjoy a suddenly meaningful Thursday.
BREAKING: Nashville's Mike Santos named new Florida Assistant GM, per GR/The Herald. More to follow...