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Panthers acquire center Steve Reinprecht from Phoenix

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Florida's Randy Sexton has fired the first shot of the free agent season, picking up Steve Reinprecht from the Coyotes for winger Stefan Meyer. As reported on both the Sun-Sentinel and Miami Herald websites, the trade was agreed upon yesterday, while negotiations on a new three-year contract were banged out last night. Salary numbers were not announced.

Steven Reinprecht

#0 / Center / Florida Panthers

6-0

195

May 07, 1976

Not a blockbuster by any definition, it's a solid addition up the middle in return for Meyer, whose inconsistency at the NHL level has hindered his progress beyond Rochester.

Stefan Meyer

#0 / Left Wing / Phoenix Coyotes

6-2

194

Jul 20, 1985

I said earlier on Facebook that this is A deal, but is it THE deal? Florida's roster at center now includes Reinprecht, Stephen Weiss, Gregory Campbell, Chad Kilger, Brett McLean, and Kamil Kreps. Factor in Rochester's Shawn Matthias and Drew Larman, and it's evident the organization is stocked with second-line (or lower) centers.

Figure McLean and Kreps are toast, with Matthias being the first call-up.

So...what's next?

On a related note, the Panthers employed a bizarre strategy for drawing eyeballs to their Facebook and Twitter sites: claiming an "announcement" was coming from the team "hopefully in the next hour". The anticipation was a bitch but all around it was kinda fun. Certainly got folks talking.