Welcome to all as we embark on yet another summer... oops, scratch that... autumn this time around... of free agent signings. New Florida Panthers general manager Bill Zito will be a busy bee as he has money to spend, but more noticeably, a lot of NHL roster spots to fill.
According to CapFriendly, the Panthers have just over $19 million in cap space after yesterday’s acquisition of defenseman Makus Nutivaara.
As of right now, the Panthers are extremely thin at forward, especially the center position, with just five players currently under contract and Aleksi Saarela qualified and set to get a new deal.
Owen Tippett is the only prospect who appears to be NHL ready with flashy Russian Grigori Denisenko a more remote possibility, so Zito & Co. will have to make at least five signings (or add via trade) to fill out the group.
On the back end, the Panthers have been connected to rumors involving big defensive fish Alex Pietrangelo and Torey Krug. If true, this would seem to indicate Zito will also be shopping for a Top-4 defenseman in addition to having to stock up on forwards.
The Panthers appear set in goal with Sergei Bobrovsky and Chris Driedger on the NHL roster and Sam Montembeault as the number three. That said, Zito might view the goalie depth chart a little differently than us fans, and with a plethora of experienced keepers available, I wouldn’t be surprised to see one come to Sunrise as extra insurance.
If you’ve been with us for any of our past ten “Free Agent Frenzy” threads you’ll be familiar with the surroundings: post your own thoughts, reactions, any rumors that catch your eye (please source them), favorite breakfast or lunch spot, what have you. Whether it’s about the NHL in general or the Panthers in particular, feel free to share it.
The free agent fireworks begin at 12 ET, so keep your peepers glued to the interweb so you don’t miss anything.
- Florida’s salary/roster situation courtesy of CapFriendly
- Panthers’ current unrestricted free agents:
- Mike Hoffman
- Evgenii Dadonov
- Mark Pysyk
- Brian Boyle
- Dominic Toninato
- Lucas Wallmark
- Dryden Hunt
Usual Twitter Suspects:
- Bob McKenzie (TSN)
- Pierre LeBrun (TSN)
- Elliotte Friedman (Sportsnet)
- Jameson Olive (Panthers)
- George Richards (Florida Hockey Now)
- David Dwork (WPLG)
- SBNation NHL
- Panthers Official