After rumors of his signing swirling around South Florida and other places, the Florida Panthers announced that three time Stanley Cup winner, and defensive specialist John Madden will be joining the club. Decimated by injuries with six forwards injured, Dale Tallon makes a very smart and shrewd move by signing the veteran center. Madden most recently played for the Minnesota Wild last season (scoring 12 times) one year removed from winning the third Stanley Cup of his career, helping the Chicago Blackhawks end their 49 year drought.
Madden happens to be familiar with some Panthers after having played with Brian Campbell, Tomas Kopecky, Kris Versteeg and Jack Skille while in Chicago, and will bring more of what Dale Tallon has been adding to this roster. Character, hard work, leadership, and the will to win.
There is no concern about his mixing in with the players, as you can see by the ringing endorsement from Versteeg in this George Richards blog post from last week:
As far as Madden fitting in? No problem, Versteeg said.
“Mads is awesome. He’s a great person and has won three Cups. He brings leadership, effort every night and great knowledge of the game,” Versteeg said. “It’s great to have a guy like Mads come in here. It may take him three or four games to get going, but obviously you have to be confident he’ll get back into it. I’m sure everyone is going to be happy to have him.
“I still can’t believe no one signed him over the summer. We’re lucky to have grabbed him.”
Having won three Stanley Cups in his career, the other two while with the New Jersey Devils, Madden brings a number of attributes that don’t always show up on the scoresheet. Known for his tenacious checking, he’s also one of the best penalty killers in the game, and is extremely adept at winning faceoffs. He’s averaged better than 50% in the faceoff circle, and that by itself will be an invaluable attribute, especially down the stretch.
While some may question his age (38 years old), there’s still something left in the tank, and once the Panthers are confident in his conditioning, you’ll most likely see him centering the third line, as well as getting some valuable penalty killing time. Throughout his career he’s also been one of the most durable players as well, typically averaging close to 80 games per season.
Even though it may take Madden a few games to get into “game” shape, you have to like this deal by Tallon. He acquires a player that’s a veteran who knows how to win and has done it three times. Madden brings an enormous presence in the dressing room with his leadership skills, and as someone that will be respected by his teammates instantly. In addition, Tallon makes this move without giving up a draft pick, prospect, or current roster player. Madden will travel with the team to New York, but it’s not known exactly when he’ll be in the lineup. Madden will wear ex-Panther David Booth’s number 10. Here’s the official announcement from the Florida Panthers organization.
In a year which sees the Florida Panthers aiming to end their decade long playoff drought, it’s refreshing to see a player like Madden not only be sought after, but willing to come here and help. This deal is not like some of the other deals that have been made for older players in the past. Madden isn’t coming here to retire, or to play golf and tennis. That’s not his way. This has winning written all over it.
Isn’t nice for a change?
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