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Florida Panthers sign UFAs Carter Verhaeghe and Radko Gudas

Bill Zito strikes quickly as free agency opens with a bang

Florida Panthers v Tampa Bay Lightning

The Florida Panthers made a pair of signings right after the NHL free agency signing period opened at noon today.

Tampa Bay Lightning center Carter Verhaeghe signed a two-year contract worth $2 million. Verhaeghe scored 9 goals and added 4 assists in 52 regular season games with the Lightning. He made 8 appearances in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and produced 2 assists during Tampa Bay’s championship run. In 2018-19, the now 25-year-old led the AHL in scoring with 82 points. Verhaeghe was taken in the third round (82nd overall) of the 2013 NHL Draft by the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The Cats added some much-needed toughness to its back end by signing veteran defenseman Radko Gudas to a three-year deal that carries a $2.5 million average annual value. Gudas, 30, spent last season with the Washington Capitals where he registered 2 goals, 15 points and 40 PIM in 63 games. He has also played for the Lightning and Philadelphia, and has 479 games of NHL experience.