Dale Tallon has made it clear that the Florida Panthers will be very much involved in the “Free Agent Frenzy” tomorrow. With some empty slots to fill throughout the whole roster, Tallon will have his work cut out for him.
It will be tough to find bargain deals like Colton Sceviour and Jonathan Marchessault this offseason, but I know Tallon has a trick or two up his sleeve. Here’s a few suggestions on who the Panthers should be target on July 1st.
I feel like he’s a free agent option every offseason, as he usually signs 1 year deals but is a viable option for any team in need of spark in their bottom 6. Parenteau just recently put up 13 goals and 15 assists in his time with the Devils and Predators. At 34 he’s a veteran, but a consistent one at that. If he is willing to take a one year deal around $1 mil, then why not pursue him.
Now Yakupov is pretty much the “Anti” Parenteau, but I believe the risk/reward is worth it. This is controversial to some since Yakupov is widely regarded as one of the biggest busts in the NHL. I think when you look past that his skill set still remains, he’s quick, has silk hands and a nose for the net.
Had he been in a situation conducive to his success is the question. Maybe a trip to sunny South Florida is what the doctor ordered.
Now back to consistent veterans, Williams has thrived the last 2 seasons in Washington putting up exactly 100 points during his time there. You have to make the playoffs or accept nonetheless if you want to get the most out of Williams. His game hits another level in the playoffs, being a Conn Smythe winner and 3 time Stanley Cup champion. He may be looking to cash in after 2 great seasons so I’d stay away if he’s asking for $3 M+.
Gagner had a great bounce back season with the Blue Jackets last year where he played a big part in their formidable bottom six. Eight of Gagner’s 18 goals came on the power play, a category where the Panthers struggled immensely. Though a natural center, he has the ability to play wing if need be, which would be beneficial as the Cats already have a plethora of Centers.
Stafford is a solid option as well, he was dealt from Winnipeg to Boston late last season. Definitely someone I could see playing with Nick Bjugstad or even Vincent Trocheck. He also can serve as a replacement to Reilly Smith on the penalty kill, but what the Panthers could really use is one of his 20 goal seasons. I won’t get my hopes up personally, but he has put up 30 before.
Returning Free Agents?
Now to be clear, I’m not very high on bringing back both Thomas Vanek and Jaromir Jagr, but one wouldn’t be the end of the world. I wasn’t really impressed with the fact that we brought Vanek in for scoring purposes and all he really did was slow the play down.
That doesn’t seem like the pace of play the Cats will be going for this season. Which means Jagr’s future is very much in question. The difference really comes down to Jagr sells seats, jerseys and provides a spark that no other athlete can bring.