Defenseman Casey Fitzgerald is returning to the Florida Panthers after signing a one-year, two-way deal the team announced on Monday.
Fitzgerald, who is star forward Matthew Tkachuk’s cousin, was acquired by the Panthers in January when the Buffalo Sabres placed him on waivers in an attempt to move him to their AHL team in Rochester.
He ended up staying on Florida’s roster through the end of the season, playing in four regular season games and two postseason contests.
With the two-way designation, he would be able to play for AHL Charlotte if he passed through waivers.
“I liked Fitzies’ game a lot,’’ coach Paul Maurice said of Fitzgerald after he filled in for Aaron Ekblad in Game 4 against Boston.
“He looked like it was his 50th playoff game. I liked the way he moved, he played well. …I was most impressed with Fitzgerald’s game because there was no shyness to what he was doing.
“He was not trying manage, he was out there trying to make plays and win the game. He gave us a lot more than I had reason to expect after not being in the lineup so long. I am very pleased with what he did the other night.”
Fitzgerald was not the only transaction made by the Panthers on Monday.
Florida also signed defenseman John Ludvig on a two-year, two-way contract.
Ludvig, 22, appeared in 54 regular season games with Charlotte last season, scoring three goals with 17 points.
FLORIDA PANTHERS ON DECK
- Now: Free agency period is open
- Mid-September: Training Camp, South Florida
- Sept. 25: Preseason starts; Doubleheader v. Nashville @ Sunrise
- Oct. 7: Preseason ends; v. Tampa Bay Lightning @ Sunrise
- Oct. 12: Start of 2023-24 Regular Season at Minnesota Wild
- Oct. 19: 2023-24 Home Opener vs. Toronto Maple Leafs