Florida Panthers Free Agency

 

Sunrise, Florida – The first day of Florida Panthers free agency got off to quite a splash. For the first time since 2011, the Panthers were able to secure multiple positions of need with some of the biggest names in the NHL. With the departures of Roberto Luongo and James Reimer, there was a glaring hole in between the pipes. While the Cats finished in the top 10 in goals for, their shaky defense allowed the 28th most goals in the league. All positions that General Manager Dale Tallon addressed on Monday.

The Panthers have been in the mix for two of the biggest names in this free agent class since the playoffs began. Artemi Panarin and Sergei Bobrovsky have been linked to the southernmost hockey club dating back to March. Both Russians would fill positions of need that fans had been yearning for quite some time. The Cats would land the two-time Vezina Trophy winner, on a seven-year $70 million dollar contract. The 30-year old goalkeeper will be in Sunrise likely into the waning years of his career.

Unfortunately, Tallon would not be able to land the second Russian in Panarin. Panarin was initially linked with the Panthers after reports of him wanting to play with fellow countryman Evegenii Dadonov. The New York Rangers would be able to sway the former Columbus Blue Jacket forward on a seven-year $81.5 Million contract. That kind of money would’ve made it difficult for the Panthers brass to lockdown young superstars Vincent Trochek, Jonathan Huberdeau, and Aleksander Barkov.

The Panthers would address their defensive issues on the first day as well by signing Anon Stralman. The 32-year-old appeared in 47 games last season with the Tampa Bay Lightning and has notched over 700 games in the NHL. A shoo-in for the top four, Stralman likely becomes the #3 defenseman for the cats and could be paired Mike Matheson or Ian McCoshen.

The bottom six forward pool got reinforcements with the likes of Brett Connolly and Noel Acciari. Connolly comes from Washington (2018 Stanley Cup Champions) and was signed on a four year $13 Million deal. The winger scored 46 points with 22 goals. Acciari was signed from Boston and he will provide energy on the third and fourth line. With 72 appearances for Boston last year, the center was known for some pivotal defensive moments and big hits for the Bruins. His contract will run for 3 years at $5 Million.

📸Credit: Sergei Belski

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