Friday Caterwaul: Florida Panthers Offseason Open Forum

Did the Cats get spurned by Andrei Markov?

Well, we’ve reached the end of another week of the offseason, leaving us a scant 70 days away from that October 6 contest between the Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning at Amalie Arena.

Speaking of the Cats, they were rumored to be in on unrestricted free agent defenseman Andrei Markov before the 38-year-old announced he was returning to Russia to play in the KHL.

The Panthers added Ben Cooper to Bob Boughner’s staff as Assistant Coach, Video. Cooper will work alongside Boughner, Associate Coach Jack Capuano, Assistant Coach  Paul McFarland, Goaltending Coach Robb Tallas and Strength & Conditioning Coach Tommy Powers. The 40-year-old Cooper joins the Cats from the Vancouver Canucks organization where he served as Assistant Coach, Video for three seasons from 2014 to 2017. Prior to joining the Canucks, Cooper served as an assistant coach with the WHL’s Victoria Royals from 2011-2013, as a Video Manager for the Canadian Men’s National Team from 2008-2011 and as a Video Coach for the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League from 2005-2008.

In other news, the Buffalo Sabres re-signed center Evan Rodrigues to a two-year deal. The first year of his new contract is a two-way, while the second year is one-way. Rodrigues split last season between the Sabres and Rochester Americans, notching four goals and two assists in 30 games with Buffalo.

Forward Connor Jones remained with the New York Islanders organization, inking a one-year, two-way deal. Jones spent most of the 2016-17 with the AHL’s Bridgeport Sound Tigers, but did play his first four NHL games with the Isles as well.

The Carolina Hurricanes re-signed left wing Phillip Di Giuseppe to a one-year, two-way deal. The 23-year-old appeared in 36 games with the Hurricanes last season, scoring one goal and adding six assists.