Apr 2, 2013; Tampa, FL, USA; Florida Panthers goalie Jacob Markstrom (35) makes glove save against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the third period at Tampa Bay Times Forum. Florida defeated Tampa Bay 3-2 in a shootout. Mandatory Credit: Douglas Jones-USA TODAY Sports

Florida Panthers Make Offers To Markstrom, Matthias, Four Others

The Florida Panthers started the process of signing their restricted free agents making qualifying offers to six players. Jacob Markstrom and Shawn Matthias were among the players to receive an offer while Peter Mueller and Jack Skille were not. GM Dale Tallon indicated that the Panthers would still like to re-sign Mueller but it has to be at the right price. Jack Skille will not be re-signed by the Panthers.

Scott Timmins, Mike Caruso, Colby Robak and Jon Rheault are the four other Panther RFAs who received qualifying offers.

On the arbitration eligible Mueller, Tallon said, ““We’re still negotiating with him and would like to keep him. It’s just what the right price is as far as our budget is concerned. We’re fearful if he went to arbitration, we might not be able to afford it.”

Tallon cited a need to move on as an organization as the reason for letting Skille go saying, “We can’t sit still as a team that was last overall. We need to make some changes, have to shake things up.”

The 25 year old Matthias talked Tuesday about his excitement to come back with the team and his desire to compete for the number 1 center spot.

 

In yesterday’s free agency preview, I mentioned that Matthias and Markstrom would most likely be back with the Panthers and Skille and Mueller more questionable. With these moves today, the Panthers answered some questions regarding who will be back next year and who will not. Skille was an enjoyable player to watch and someone who always played hard, but as Tallon said, if you finish last in the league, you have to shake things up and it is time for the Panthers and Skille to go their separate ways.

 

What will happen to Peter Mueller still remains up in the air. Florida is hesitant to extend an offer because they fear that if Mueller decides to go to arbitration, the team will be unable to pay him the money he will be awarded. The Panthers and Mueller will take their time in these contract talks and hopefully will come to an agreement that suits both sides and avoids arbitration.

 

Of the other four players extended offers, I think defenders Caruso and Robak could have the most impact on the team this year. Caruso started last season with the Panthers but a wrist injury in the second game of the year ended his season early. Robak and Caruso will compete for a spot on the Florida blue line and if they do not start the year with the team, they will be the first players called upon as injury fill-ins.

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Tags: Florida Panthers Free Agency Jacob Markstrom Shawn Matthias

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