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Florida Panthers add Wennberg, Hinostroza and Lomberg in free agency

Bill Zito close to completing forward puzzle

Florida Panthers v Columbus Blue Jackets

After signing Radko Gudas and Carter Verhaeghe quickly after the opening bell of free agency, the Florida Panthers inked three more forwards to short-term, low-priced deals before calling it quits for the day.

Alexander Wennberg

Wennberg, 26, appeared in 57 regular season games with the Columbus Blue Jackets, producing a disappointing 22 points (5G/17A) and registered five points (3G/2A) over 10 playoff games in the Toronto bubble.

The 6-foot-2, 197-pound native of Stockholm, Sweden has appeared in 415 career National Hockey League games, all with Columbus, recording 201 points (40G/161A). Over 22 career playoff games, Wennberg has posted eight points (4G/4A).

Prior to his career in North America, Wennberg played three professional seasons in Sweden (2011-12 to 2013-14). In 2013-14 with Frolunda HC of the Swedish Hockey League, Wennberg notched 21 points (16G/5A), and scored the most goals among SHL juniors (16). He was named the 2013-14 Swedish Junior Hockey Player of the Year.

On the international stage, Wennberg won Silver Medals with Sweden at the 2013 and 2014 IIHF World Junior Championships and 2012 IIHF World U18 Championship. He has appeared in two IIHF World Championship tournaments with Sweden (2016, 2019). He amassed 10 points (3G/7A) over six games at the 2019 World Championship.

He was originally selected by Columbus in the first round (14th overall) of the 2013 NHL Entry Draft.

Vinnie Hinostroza

Hinostroza, 26, appeared in 68 regular season games with the Arizona Coyotes in 2019-20, recording five goals and 22 points (5-17-22) and registered two assists over seven postseason games in the Edmonton bubble.

The 5-foot-9, 173-pound native of Chicago, IL, has played in 246 career regular season National Hockey League games, producing 100 points (34G/66A) with Arizona (2018-19 to 2019-20) and the Chicago Blackhawks (2015-16 to 2017-18). He has appeared in eight career playoff games, notching two assists.

In 2018-19, Hinostroza, recorded a career-best 39 points (16G/23A) over 72 games with the Coyotes. During his time in the American Hockey League, he was named a 2018 AHL All-Star, while playing with the Rockford IceHogs.

On the international stage, Hinostroza has represented the United States at the 2016 IIHF World Championship and the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship.

Prior to his professional career, he played two seasons (2013-14 to 2014-15) for the University of Notre Dame amassing 76 points (19G/57A) in 76 games. He was named to the 2013-14 Hockey East All-Rookie Team and the 2014-15 Hockey East First All-Star Team.

Hinostroza played three seasons with the Waterloo Black Hawks of the United States Hockey League, recording 126 points (53G/73A) over 151 games before making the jump to the NCAA.

He was originally selected by Chicago in the sixth round (169th overall) of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.

Ryan Lomberg

Lomberg, 25, has appeared in 11 National Hockey League games with the Calgary Flames (2017-18 to 2018-19), registering one assist and 32 PIM.

In 2019-20, Lomberg, recorded 20 points (11G/9A) over 21 regular season games with the Stockton Heat of the American Hockey League (AHL).

The 5-foot-9, 187-pound native of Richmond Hill, Ontario, has played in 219 career AHL games all with Stockton (2015-16 to 2019-20), producing 109 points (49G/60A) and 365 PIM. In 2014-15, he played in 43 regular season games with the Adirondack Thunder of the ECHL, posting 35 points (18G/17A) and notched six points (3G/3A) over 12 playoff games.

Undrafted, the University of Maine alum recorded 32 points (18G/14A) over 66 games (2012-13 to 2013-14). In 2014-15, he played 46 games with the Youngstown Phantoms of the USHL, amassing 43 points (24G/19A) and 146 PIM.

After the spate of signings, general manager Bill Zito has roughly $11.5 million of cap space to work with. That number doesn’t include pending contacts for MacKenzie Weegar and Aleksi Saarela. Looking at the current roster, the Panthers need to add more scoring, so Zito’s focus should be on adding a 20-goal man (or two) and perhaps another defenseman.


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