The first day of free agency went as advertised for the Florida Panthers. With about $30-million in cap space going into yesterday, and the green light to spend right up to the cap limit – the Panthers promised to be active come free agency.
Six free agents later Dale Tallon and company were good to their word. Some may wonder the reasoning behind some of the signings, mainly due to some of the player’s age.
When a team is going through a rebuild you generally don’t see them add age like they did today, but make no mistake – this Panthers team isn’t about to go through a rebuild.
This is a team that added age because they feel that they can compete, and compete this upcoming season. Their core of young players have more experience than most kids their age have and with the cast of veterans brought in today they will have that security net to fall back on when times do get rough.
Between the six free agents the Panthers signed yesterday, they combined to have their name on the Stanley Cup six times, something you can’t put a price on come crunch time.
They get a backup goaltender who emerged last year as one of the better backups, and was so good at times the Winnipeg Jets almost gave up on a goaltender that they had just paid to be their franchise goaltender. His signing brings into question the future of Dan Ellis, but I never believed that he would have or should have been the answer behind Roberto Luongo.
They received top-6 help that is yet versatile enough to help in other roles, including taking faceoffs and on the penalty kill. Also any player who has his own set of hockey gloves just for the shootout is a player worth watching.
Each and every night the Finish-faithful will get an opportunity to watch two of their best likely playing on the same line. They also got one of the most respected fourth line grinders in the league, despite an ugly incident that got him in hot water last year – he remains a highly thought of player around the league. Their young stars can play knowing that if someone tries to take liberties against them those players will have to pay for it.
Experience is an invaluable asset to have, especially when the players you are building around don’t have it. They had to overpay to get one of them, but you could argue he was the second or third best option at center this year, so under $6-million per year may come out as a steal.
Tallon has showed he will be a man of his word, and as more of his former players continue to find their way to Florida it makes you realize that he is a man that can make something special happen.
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