The Florida Panthers will have a lot of decisions to make come July 1 when free agency opens up. By the words of Dale Tallon himself expect the Panthers to be a very active team from this point forward. He is looking to add five veteran free agents by either trade or free agent signing. Could one of the five be a familiar face?
Marcel Goc was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins at the deadline for two draft picks, including a third round pick in next year’s draft, a veteran of 161-games in a Panther jersey.
At 30-years old, Goc is hitting the free agent market once again after signing a three year deal with the Panthers in 2011 and he could very well be a player that they look to bring back with the right deal.
Florida has their top two centers set for the foreseeable future in Aleksander Barkov and Nick Bjugstad, but having Goc’s defensive presence on the bottom of the depth chart can make things easier on their two young centers. Goc has been one of the game’s premiere faceoff men in the league, as well as a penalty kill specialists.
Goc averaged over two minutes of penalty kill time with the Panthers, and made an immediate transition into the Penguins rotation, getting over two minutes a game there as well.
The Penguins will get first nabs at resigned Goc, but with their salary cap situation, a player who can fill the fourth line on a league minimum contract is likely more ideal, so that means he will likely be looking for a new home come July.
Could his new home, be one of his old stops? Depending on how the Panthers’ organization feel about the progression of RFA Brandon Pirri and Vincent Trocheck, they may need up to two centers for their NHL roster next season, Goc would be a perfect addition to fill a fourth line role in Sunrise.
Only the Buffalo Sabres had a worst faceoff percentage than the Panthers. Goc was the only true center to win over 50% of his faceoffs.