Leave it to Dale Tallon to make a stir on what is usually a dead period. Tallon, appearing on the NHL Live radio show on Monday, announced that the Florida Panthers have acquired the exclusive negotiating rights to Chicago Blackhawks restricted free agent forward Tomas Kopecky.
In return, the Blackhawks get a conditional 7th round pick from the Panthers. Kopecky is coming off his best season statistically with 42 points (15 goals) which doubles his previous career high. The Panthers have until July 1 to resign Kopecky or he will hit the open market as an unrestricted free agent. Last season, the Czech made $1.2 million. You would expect he would in a good position to get a raise from a team that still needs to hit the salary cap floor.
Kopecky is the second former Blackhawk to come to Sunrise in a matter of days, joining Brian Campbell who was acquired via trade this past Friday. Kopecky spent his first four seasons as a member of the Detroit Red Wings before signing with Chicago as an unrestricted free agent prior to the 2009-10 season. He tallied 21 points during the regular season and added six more during the Blackhawks run to the Stanley Cup.
Assuming he isn’t signed a longer term deal, I don’t mind the move. This is still a young team and it doesn’t hurt to have a few guys who can show off a Stanley Cup ring and talk about the experiences they went through to get it. He won’t play on a line that features Marian Hossa so it might be unrealistic to expect the point production he had last season. But with his size (6-3, 203), he gives the Panthers a big-bodied forward that Tallon covets. Should he not re-sign, there isn’t much of anything lost for the team.
Here is the official release from the club.
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