This is indeed a strange one: the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle is reporting longtime NHL forward Michael Nylander - who split last season between the AHL and Europe - has been loaned via Washington (with whom he remains under contract) to the Panthers, with the presumption that the soon-to-be 38 year-old will play an on-ice mentoring role with the Rochester Americans. From Florida assistant GM Mike Santos:
"He’s coming here to help our young guys. He’s not coming here grumbling. He wants to resurrect his career for one more shot."
This is astounding news for an Amerks roster recently dinged by an injury to possible number one center Mark Cullen, who potentially could miss over half the regular season.
Nylander was the victim of a salary dump by the Capitals, who found no further use for
his contract him after the quick ascension of a number of talented centers in the Washington organization, hence the loan to non-NHL clubs. Under his current deal, he is owed $3M (per CapGeek) for one more year - likely to be paid enirely by Florida.
Personally, I'm a lot happier that he's going to ROC and not the Panthers, where his $4.875M cap hit would spell doomsday for the rebuild at the center position; suddenly he becomes Florida's highest-paid pivot, cap-wise - a completely unjustifiable situation for an at-best third liner (keep in mind, he was drafted in 1991). Who gets the bump in that case: Shawn Matthias?
UPDATE: GR confirms Washington will pay the entire salary, not Florida.