Panthers keep it largely in-house during first day of free agency

Cats add Gibson, bring back Mamim, re-up Lammikko and Verhaeghe

Florida Panthers general manager Bill Zito doled out some new contract on the opening day of free agency, but largely kept the club’s doings in-house, wisely avoiding overpriced unrestricted offerings.

One outside add was NHL/AHL tweener type goaltender Christopher Gibson, who signed a one-year, two-way deal worth $750K at the NHL level. Gibson, 28, spent last season with the Tampa Bay Lightning organization and appeared in two games with the Bolts and two games with the Syracuse Crunch.

The Panthers also brought Maxim Mamin back into the fold, inking the 26-year-old Russian to a one-year contract worth $975K. Mamin, 26, suited up in 55 games with CSKA Moscow of the KHL in 2020-21, ranking second on the club with 20 assists and 35 points. In 22 postseason games with CSKA, he notched six goals 12 points, helping the club to an appearance in the Gagarin Cup Final. After making an impact late in the 2017-18 season, Mamin headed overseas after just seven appearances in 2018-19.

Juho Lammikko was a player who went through a similar situation. Lammikko returned from the KHL’s Metallurg Magnitogorsk last season to add depth and appeared in 44 games with the Cats and scored his first four NHL goals to finish with five points. The 25 year-old center earned a new one-year deal worth $750K.

And finally Zito signed Carter Verhaeghe, who broke out with 18 goals and 18 assists in 43 during the 2020-21 campaign, to a three-year contract extension worth $12.5 million. The new deal will kick in at the start of the 2022-23 season. Verhaeghe will finish off his current contract ($1 million AAV) this season.