While many are disappointed that the Florida Panthers did not land Artemi Panarin, it may be the best thing for the team’s future.
As the 2018-19 NHL season started to come to a close, the main topic on the minds of hockey fans may not have been the Stanley Cup Final. Everyone was anticipating the month of June to end to open up the most exciting part of the hockey offseason: free agency.
For this year’s free-agent class, there happened to be many great hockey players available for teams to sign. While there were some top-tier players like Matt Duchene and Joe Pavelski, the two big boys on the list came from the Columbus Blue Jackets. Artemi Panarin and Sergei Bobrovsky were arguably the most attractive players of the summer, and teams fought their way to the front of the line to try to snatch them up.
Coincidentally, as we got closer to July 1st, many hockey experts deemed that the Florida Panthers were at the top of the lists for both Panarin and Bobrovsky. In the end, the cats ended up landing only one of the Columbus players, and he couldn’t fit in the crease any better.
Yes, the Florida Panthers finally solved their goaltending problem. They signed one of the best goalies in the world in Sergei Bobrovsky to a 10-year, $70 million contract. With Roberto Luongo retired and James Reimer off to the Carolina Hurricanes, this was the best move the cats could’ve made and it will most likely pay off for years to come.
While they got one Blue Jacket, many fans were upset to see that the other one went north of Ohio to play for the New York Rangers. On July 1st, Artemi Panarin signed a 7-year, $81.5 million contract in Manhattan. Yes, Panarin is a fantastic NHL player, but would it have been worth it to pay him a significant amount of money each year for seven seasons? In hindsight, it seems that the Panthers did the right thing in backing away from a contract like that.
More from Editorials
- Best Panthers prop bets for Stanley Cup Final Game 3
- Best Panthers NHL prop bets for Stanley Cup Final Game 2
- Panthers prop bets for Stanley Cup Final Game 1
- Panthers Get An Early Christmas Present From NHL
- Panthers vs. Flyers: Players to watch closely
In terms of the actual contract, the cats dodged a bullet in terms of spending a boatload on one player. Instead of using their remaining monies on one forward, they were able to spread the wealth out to acquire other pieces to the lineup that they needed to not only look better on paper, but to complete their roster to form one that can win.
For the offense, the cats decided to go with a Stanley Cup Champion in Brett Connolly and a Stanley Cup finalist in Noel Acciari to add depth and playoff experience to their forward group. While Connolly can slide to the wing and add some scoring to the top-six, Acciari can add some grit to the bottom-six and take the role of the fourth-line center.
On the defensive side, they added another Stanley Cup Finalist in Anton Stralman, who is supposed to add structure to the defense. He’s the kind of guy to move the puck quickly and eliminate any chance of turnovers. It seems that instead of paying the big bucks for Panarin, the cats decided to use their wallet wisely.
Aside from who the Panthers acquired during this offseason, not taking a load of Panarin’s contract can help towards future payments too. In the 2019-20 NHL offseason, the Florida Panthers are going to have to pay some UFAs themselves. Two of their stars, Evgeni Dadonov and Mike Hoffman are going to be owed plenty of money and term come next year.
If Hoffman can repeat what he did in his first stint with the cats, he’ll be asking around the $8 million area. If Dadonov continues to do what he does every year, he may be asking for near the same amount. Basically, these two stars will most likely be owed hefty paychecks.
No matter what happens when the time comes for these two to sign, it’s safe to say that the Panthers probably wouldn’t be able to afford either of them if they had to pay the bread man close to $12 million per year.
Even though many people were disappointed that Artemi Panarin won’t be in a Florida Panthers jersey come next season, it’s safe to say it may be for the best that he didn’t sign with the cats.