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Saturday Offseason Caterwaul: Florida Panthers Open Forum

Catching up on the latest NHL news

New York Rangers v Florida Panthers Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

Happy Weekend! According to reports the NHL is still eyeing an January 1 start date. Hopefully that will be the case, but at this point, I remain skeptical unless they start the season in a small number of pods and then go back to something resembling normal as the season progresses. We should know more in the next week to ten days.

Florida Panthers forward Aleksi Saarela will be in action as Finland takes on the Czech Republic at the Karjala Cup. The game starts at 10:30 a.m. ET.

Aleski Heponiemi set up the game-tying goal by Martin Kaut in MODO Hockey’s 4-3 overtime win over Sodertalje SK on Wednesday night. Heponiemi has produced 2 goals and 7 points in 10 games in Sweden’s Allsvenskan.

Restricted free agent Brendan Lemieux avoided salary arbitration with the New York Rangers, agreeing to a two-year contract worth an annual average value of $1.55 million. Lemieux produced a career-high 12 assists and 18 points in 59 games last season. (Blueshirt Banter)

Former NHL defenseman Jim Neilson has passed away at age 79. Neilson spent 12 of his 16 NHL seasons with the New York Rangers, followed by two seasons with the California Golden Seals and two with the Cleveland Barons. Neilson played 1, 024 games, amassing 69 goals and 368 points. He also spent one season in the WHA, the rebel league’s final campaign, with the Edmonton Oilers before retiring in 1979. RIP, Jim.