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2024 Stanley Cup Champions

Montour Loved Cup Celebration, But Was It the End in Florida?

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Brandon Montour celebrates the Florida Panthers Stanley Cup win on the ice with his son Kai early Tuesday morning in Sunrise. A free agent, Montour could leave the Panthers on Monday. // Photos @ColbyDGuy

SUNRISE — Once the feeling set in that he was, indeed, a Stanley Cup Champion, one of the first things Florida Panthers defenseman Brandon Montour did after he gathered his thought was lift up his son, Kai, and give him a big hug.

Montour went through a whole adventure during last year’s Cup Final when the little one was born.

He flew back to South Florida between Games 1 and 2 of the Cup Final in Vegas to support his wife, Ryian, during Kai’s birth.

Florida ultimately lost that series to the Golden Knights in five games, but he got to share a Stanley Cup victory with Kai and family when the Panthers took a 2-1 victory in Game 7 of the 2024 Cup Final against the Edmonton Oilers.

“I know, it’s pretty crazy,” Montour said.

“Having him last year, it would have been nice to win that one. But for him to be here, obviously a little older, and to experience it in his first year. You know, he’s 1 now and to share this with him, it’s pretty cool.”

The Montour family has called South Florida home for the past three and a half years, and with another baby on the way, Brandon enters unrestricted free agency today.

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Panthers general manager Bill Zito was weary when discussing Montour’s future with the team ahead of the NHL Draft.

Moments after expressing optimism about the return of Game 7 hero Sam Reinhart, it immediately shifted to pessimism when Montour’s name was brought up.

“I don’t know,’’ he said. “At the risk of being coy, there is a way, but I am also appreciative that guys do well and they deserve to get paid. They deserve bigger and better opportunities. We respect it, and hopefully we’re a place where … someone else will want to come.’’

Montour has earned the right to get paid this offseason.

He scored 37 goals and 147 points in 239 total regular season games as a Panther — including 16 goals and 73 points in a breakout 2022-23 season — while playing significant minutes during Florida’s two runs to the Stanley Cup Final.

Montour was a crucial piece to Florida’s ethos, serving as locker room DJ since the departure of Frank Vatrano and being one of the premiere personalities to keep the room loose with joke after joke.

But this year’s Cup Final presented some hurdles for him.

He went up against longtime friend Adam Henrique in the Final, for one. A former teammate from the Anaheim Ducks who he shares a golf tournament in their shared hometown.

That was an easy one for him to get over.

But Montour also had to take a demotion from the top power play unit on the chin before Game 6 and do his part however he could to help the Panthers win the Cup.

“It is what it is,” Montour said. “You know, our power play was struggle, we needed a change and it’s all about winning. There were some plays I made that were uncharacteristic, but the change is good.

“Obviously, I don’t think we scored, but the team wins defensively, you focus on that. Offense is there when you needed it, but again, it’s a team for a reason. The rest is history. Now, it doesn’t matter.”

And now, he will get to take those bragging rights to his golf tournament with Henrique later this summer.

“I spoke to him a little bit there [in the handshake line,]” Montour said. “It’s gonna be a celebration for both of us, obviously. To have two guys from there and share this experience with him. You couldn’t ask for much more. To be on top is obviously pretty good.”

But what meant the most to Montour was to get the job done here, in South Florida.

When asked just how much that meant, he gave a classic response.

“You tell me how it feels to be a part of this, Colbs.”

Some expletives were shared, some jokes were made, that’s just how it is with Brandon Montour.

And now he is a Stanley Cup Champion — one who celebrated with gusto on Sunday in Fort Lauderdale with his Florida teammates.

More FHN Coverage of the Stanley Cup Champion Panthers:

UP NEXT FOR THE FLORIDA PANTHERS
  • NHL Free Agency: Today
  • Florida Panthers Development Camp, Fort Lauderdale: Early July
  • Florida Panthers Training Camp, Fort Lauderdale: Mid-September
  • Florida Panthers Preseason: Sept. 22-Oct. 5
  • Florida Panthers Opening Night/Banner Unveiling: TBA

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