Lee Stempniak is a low-risk, low-cost third-line option for Panthers
33-year-old could be a bargain for Cats team that needs to watch its cap situation
What does Lee Stempniak have to do to find some job stability?
Last year, the veteran winger produced the second-best season (51 points) of his career while splitting time with the New Jersey Devils (63 games) and Boston Bruins (19 games).
Stempniak's 19 goals were the second-most he's ever scored and his 32 assists were a career-high. Not bad for a 33-year-old journeyman who has now played for nine different clubs.
2015-16 was the third season in a row that Stempniak played for two different teams. The last time he spent a full season in one place was in 2012-13 with the Calgary Flames. That lockout-shortened campaign was the only year on his NHL resume that he didn't produce double-digit goals.
Sure, he's getting a little long in the tooth, but the fact is Stempniak has produced everywhere he has played and his last two seasons have seen him bag 15 and 19 goals, showing that he still has something in the tank.
With the Florida Panthers looking for a third-line wing or two for Nick Bjugstad, Stempniak could be an inexpensive fit. His last two contracts were one-year deals paying him $900K in 2014-15 and $800K last season. Getting 19 goals and 51 points from player making $800K was a steal for both the Devils and Bruins.
A two-year contract with a modest bump over that number could be all it takes for the Panthers to be the one reaping the rewards of this savvy vet's know how. In addition to playing on the third line, Stempniak is good enough to play in the top-six if an injury necessitates a move up. This is a player that should be on Florida's radar come tomorrow.