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LBC’s 2021 Florida Panthers & NHL UFA Day Open Thread

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League’s annual free agent feeding frenzy period starts at high noon

2020 NHL Draft - Round 2-7 Photo by Dave Courtney/NHLI via Getty Images

Welcome to all as we embark on a shortened summer of free agent signings. Florida Panthers general manager Bill Zito has been a busy bee during the early stages of his sophomore offseason and has very few, if any NHL roster spots left to fill, so I wouldn’t expect much in the way of fireworks from our hometown team.

According to CapFriendly, the Panthers have just over $10 million in projected cap space after last night’s re-signing of defenseman Brandon Montour.

A sizeable chunk of that money will go to re-upping restricted free agent forward Samson Reinhart, who was acquired from the Buffalo Sabres this past weekend. An extension is also seemingly done for Carter Verhaeghe, but that won’t go on the books until next year. The Panthers can also ink franchise lynchpin Aleksander Barkov to an extension starting today. Former Russian Cat Maxim Mamin is also rumored to be returning to Sunrise.

Once Reinhart and fellow RFA Juho Lammikko ink new deals, the Cats will be up to 35 contracts, so a lot of what we see Zito & Co. do the rest of the summer might simply be adding some more players meant to develop with the Charlotte Checkers. Or not, the organization could run lean on contracts this year as they are sharing the Checkers with the Seattle Kraken this season.

All that said, the Panthers could be in the market for another veteran defenseman, and I for one, would be lot a more comfortable if somehow the team could add another experienced goaltender to the mix, as an insurance policy in case both Sergei Bobrovsky and rookie Spencer Knight falter. This roster is just too good now to have (potentially) that big of an Achilles’ heel.

If you’ve been with us for any of our past “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 p.m. ET, so keep your seeing orbs glued to the interweb so you don’t miss anything.

- SI/The Hockey News Top 30 Unrestricted Free Agents

- Florida’s salary/roster situation courtesy of CapFriendly

- Panthers’ current unrestricted free agents:

  • Alex Wennberg
  • Nikita Gusev
  • Lucas Wallmark
  • Ryan Bednard
  • Philippe Desrosiers
  • Brady Keeper
  • Jake Massie
  • Alec Rauhauser
  • Patrick Bajkov
  • Brad Morrison

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