Ekblad (neck/concussion) “is going to be fine” said head coach Gerard Gallant.
Ekblad was sent home after suffering a neck injury and a reported concussion at the World Cup of Hockey. Ekblad is back skating in Florida and is expected to be ready to anchor the Panthers’ top-pair in the season opener.
The Panthers signed Jonathan Huberdeau to a six-year contract extension worth$35.4 million ($5.9M AAV).
Huberdeau, 23, is coming off of a career-year, having posted 20 goals and 39 assists (59 points). The former third overall pick (2011) has turned in back-to-back 50-plus point seasons and appears to only be scratching the surface of what he might be able to accomplish on the Panthers’ top-line with Aleksander Barkov and Jaromir Jagr.
The Panthers have signed Derek MacKenzie to a two-year deal worth $2.7 million ($1.35M AAV).
MacKenzie is a quality fourth line centre, that will not do a lot of scoring. He led the Panthers in face-off percentage (54.8%) and was second in hits per game with 2.4. MacKenzie’s value lies in the faceoff circle and on the penalty kill, where he led all Panthers’ forwards with a 2:38 PK/TOI per game.
The Panthers signed Reilly Smith to a five-year deal worth $25 million ($5M AAV).
Smith, 25, had a great debut season in Florida, registering 25 goals and 25 assists (50 points) in 82 games and an ultra-impressive eight points (4G / 4A) in six playoff games. Smith has only missed one game in his first three full NHL seasons and has already turned in two 20-plus goal seasons. He has a top-6 role for a good team and should have a shot at 30 goals in 2016-17.
The Panthers have signed Vincent Trocheck to a six-year contract worth $28.5 million ($4.75M AAV).
Trocheck is looking like a third-round steal from the 2011 NHL Draft. The 22-year-old centre is coming off of a huge 25-goal, 28-assist (53 points) season, earning himself a huge extension. He is a key member of a young core in Florida that will be looking to do even more damage in 2016-17. Trocheck should be able to turn in another 25/25 season.
The Panthers have signed Jason Demers to a five-year deal worth $22.5 million ($4.5M AAV).
Demers was acquired mid-season in 2014-15, so 2015-16 was his first full season with the Stars. He missed 20 games, but still picked up 23 points (7G / 16A) in 62 games. He is a solid two-way defenseman who solidifies the Panthers’ second pairing and should look good as the third best defenseman on the team behind Aaron Ekblad and Keith Yandle.
The Panthers signed Jonathan Marchessault to a two-year contract.
Marchessault, 25, split his 2015-16 campaign between the NHL and AHL. The 5-foot-9 forward had nine points (6G / 3A) in 11 games with Syracuse and 18 points (7G / 11A) in 45 games with the Lightning. Marchessault will fight for a spot on the Panthers’ opening night roster in training camp this Fall.
The Panthers signed Colton Sceviour to a two-year contract.
Sceviour, 27, has been with the Stars since he was drafted 112th overall in 2007. During that time he has amassed 62 points (28G / 34A) in 170 career NHL games and he’ll bring that experience to the Panthers’ bottom-6 in 2016-17.
The Panthers have signed James Reimer to a five-year deal worth $17 million ($3.4M AAV).
Reimer, 28, split last season with the Maple Leafs and Sharks after being dealt at the Trade Deadline. He combined for a 17-14-7 record with a 2.31 GAA and .922 SV%. He has a career .914 SV% in 196 starts and signs with the Panthers as insurance for 37-year-old Roberto Luongo. Bobby Lu will likely start the majority of games, but Reimer should start more than your average backup with the upside for a straight platoon if he plays well.
The Panthers signed Aaron Ekblad to an eight-year, $60 million contract extension.
Ekblad, 20, will carry a $7.5 million cap-hit in the 2017-18 season, which would make him the sixth highest paid defenseman as of now. The 6-foot-4, 216 lbs. blueliner has had two great years to kick off his NHL career—posting 39-points (12G / 27A) in 2014-15 and 36 points (15G / 21A) last season. Ekblad will be the cornerstone of the Panthers franchise through the 2024-25 season.
The Panthers have acquired Reto Berra from the Avalanche for Rocco Grimaldi.
After the emergence of Calvin Pickard, Berra spent the second half of the 2015-16 season with San Antonio (AHL). He was 7-7-0 with a 3.39 GAA and .901 SV% with the Rampage and 5-8-0 with a 2.41 GAA and .922 SV% in 14 games with Colorado.
The Panthers have signed Keith Yandle to a seven year deal worth $44.45 million ($6.35M AAV).
Florida acquired Yandle’s rights from the Rangers a few days back and wasted no time inking the 29-year-old defenseman to a seven year contract. Handle has not missed a game in the last seven seasons and has averaged 10 goals and 40 assists (50 points) per 82 games over that stretch. He becomes the highest paid player in the Panthers organization.