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Florida Panthers Let Givani Smith, Colin White Become UFAs

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Colin White, left, and Givani Smith were not tendered contracts by the Florida Panthers on Friday and will be unrestricted free agents on Saturday at noon. // Photos by Roger Lee Photographer (561) 866-2000

The Florida Panthers tendered qualifying offers to restricted free agents Aleksi Heponiemi, Grigori Denisenko, John Ludvig and Logan Hutsko ahead of Friday’s deadline.

That means the Panthers did not offer contracts to Colin White, Max Gildon, Givani Smith and Serron Noel — making them unrestricted free agents when free agency opens on Saturday at noon.

White, 26, scored eight goals and 15 points in 68 regular season games for the Panthers after signing with them last offseason.

His contract had been bought out by the Senators and Florida brought him in on a one-year, $1.2 million deal.

White ended up playing mostly on the fourth line, recording two assists in 21 games during Florida’s run to the Stanley Cup Final.

Smith, 25, scored one goal and four points in 36 regular season games after being acquired in a trade with the Detroit Red Wings in December.

He appeared in one postseason game and registered no points.

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Denisenko, 23, was drafted 15th overall by Florida in the 2018 NHL Draft.

He played in 26 total games, registering seven assists. He added three assists in 18 games during the 2022-23 season.

Denisenko played one game during the playoffs, filling in for an injured Matthew Tkachuk and registering a minus-3 in 5:57 of ice time in Game 5 against the Vegas Golden Knights.

Aleksi Heponiemi, 24, was selected by Florida in the second round of the 2017 NHL Draft.

He played 25 games for the Panthers, scoring two goals and six points.

The 5-foot-10 forward added a goal and two assists in 10 games during the 2022-23 season.

Logan Hutsko, 24, left AHL Charlotte to play for IK Oskarshamn in Sweden after registering nine goals and 27 points in 42 games last season.

The 2018 third-round pick out of Boston College has not played in an NHL game for Florida.

Serron Noel was a second-round pick of the Panthers in 2018 but only played in seven ECHL games this season. He did not attend training camp due to a personal matter.

Last season, Noel showed a lot of promise in the preseason but did not make the team out of camp in his first professional season.

He ended up scoring five goals with 20 points in 64 games for the Charlotte Checkers in 2021-22.

Max Gildon, 24, was drafted in the third round of the 2017 NHL Draft by the Panthers.

The 6-foot-3 defenseman had 14 points in 47 total AHL games, spending 41 of those games on loan with the Edmonton Oilers AHL affiliate, the Bakersfield Condors.

John Ludvig, 22, had 17 points in 54 games with AHL Charlotte after missing most of the 2021-22 season with an injury.

The 6-foot-1 defenseman was drafted by the Panthers in the third round of the 2019 NHL Draft.

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