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Florida Panthers extend qualifying offers to six players

Cats say see ya to five others

New York Islanders v Florida Panthers Photo by Chase Agnello-Dean/NHLI via Getty Images

After the conclusion of an extremely long second day of the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, new Florida Panthers General Manager Bill Zito announced that the Panthers have extended qualifying offers to six of its restricted free agents.

Rights retaining offers were made to forward Henrik Borgstrom, defenseman Emil Djuse, forward Mason Marchment, goaltender Sam Montembeault, forward Aleksi Saarela and, most importantly, defenseman MacKenzie Weegar.

As far as the NHL roster goes, the Panthers chose not to make qualifying offers to forwards Dryden Hunt, Dominic Toninato and Lucas Wallmark, who was acquired in the Vincent Trocheck trade.

The two AHL restricted free agents the Cats decided to part ways with were defenseman Thomas Schemitsch, a third-rounder in 2015, and goaltender Philippe Desrosiers.

Those five players are now unrestricted free agents. if the Panthers have interest in any of that quartet, they can circle back and sign them to a new deal starting Friday.

Depending on whether Florida plans on carrying 22 or 23 players next season, the Cats look to have six or seven spots open at forward and two spots open on defense, so Zito really has the flexibility to put his stamp on this team and turnover a pretty large potion of the roster for the 2020-21 season.