Caterwaul: Florida Panthers / NHL Pre-UFA Day Open Forum

USA TODAY Sports

What next for Cats as free agency takes center stage?

As the NHL's free agency period rapidly approaches (Friday, 12 p.m. ET) the only significant activity by the Florida Panthers since the Draft was in their bold but certainly necessary step of buying out the remaining year of blueliner Filip Kuba's contract on Wednesday. Not so bold, but blindingly obvious, was the formality of extending qualifying offers to restricted free agents Jacob Markstrom, Mike Caruso, Colby Robak, Scott Timmins, Shawn Matthias, and Jon Rheault (though it would appear Rheault has other plans for next season). Beyond this activity, not a peep out of Sunrise as to which direction "UFA Day" may play out, though it's generally believed Florida's actions will be on the lighter end until August.

But what of Stephen Weiss? Peter Mueller (above)? Jose Theodore? Will they stay? Should they stay? A bit further south on the organizational depth chart, netminders Dov Grumet-Morris and Brian Foster are staring at their own professional "freedom". For a club brimming with goaltender goodness only a couple of years ago, only Marky, Scott Clemmensen, and Michael Houser retain keys to the training room barring re-signings or acquisitions.

Not to be missed: 2013 Panthers Development Camp beginning Monday from Saveology Iceplex in Coral Springs. Second-overall draft selection Aleksander Barkov up close.

We'll be going live at 11 a.m. Friday with LBC's 5th annual UFA Day Open Thread, so do join us. Have a fun and most importantly safe holiday weekend, all :)

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