ST PAUL, MN - MARCH 22: John Madden #11 of the Minnesota Wild is stopped on a second period breakaway by James Reimer #34 of the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Xcel Energy Center on March 22, 2011 in St Paul, Minnesota. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
In what may be this week's worst-kept secret, the Florida Panthers - depending upon which source you choose to follow, and there are many - have signed former Selke Trophy-winner center John Madden. The club has not as yet confirmed any deal.
At 38 years old and without a contract since spring, Madden last played for the Minnesota Wild in 2010-11 as a teammate of current Cats starter Jose Theodore, scoring 25 points (12 goals) in 76 games on a heavily defensive-minded club, which worked to his strengths, though the organization faced a soon-to-come rebuild.
In parts of ten seasons with the New Jersey Devils, Madden was a member of two Stanley Cup winners in 1999-00 (ironically playing against Florida's last playoff squad) and 2002-03. A Frank Selke Trophy recipient in 2001 as the league's best defensive forward highlighted his years with the Devils while collecting 297 points (140 goals) in 712 games.
Signing with the Blackhawks as a free agent in the summer of 2009, Madden, as an alternate captain, went on to score 10 goals and 13 assists in 79 games with the eventual league champions, playing alongside Kris Versteeg, Brian Campbell and Tomas Kopecky.
A penalty-kill beast with a knack for faceoff victories, Madden has recorded 29 shorthanded points (18 goals) and 23 gamewinners over a career that has generally seen him utilized in a third-line role. Considering the brutal number of injuries to the forward ranks, Florida may have found a quality stop-gap measure who fits the blueprint, regardless of age.