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Florida Panthers Cup Final Mailbag: Hyman, Free Agents and More



Florida panthers

The Edmonton Oilers and in town, the Florida Panthers are ready to open up their arena, and the NHL Stanley Cup Final on Saturday night. 

Actually, the arena will be open for business today.

Both teams will hold practices at the arena, with media day activities throughout the day.

Fun, right?

Actually, yeah.

These are the good times, folks. Enjoy them.

Anyway, we opened up the FHN Florida Panthers Mailbag on Thursday to answer all of your pressing questions regarding America’s NHL Team.

We have quite a bit to unload here.

For instance, why did Zach Hyman not sign with the Panthers back in 2015?

How will Bill Zito & Co. handle yet another short — like, really short — offseason?

All this and more, in a special edition of the FHN Mailbag:

Can we get the skinny on why Hyman made it clear he would not sign with us when he finished at Michigan? — Ed Purchase

This was a few years ago, 2015 to be exact, but the gist of it was this: He had to opportunity to go where he wants (and not where he was drafted) and he did that.

Hyman was a fifth-round pick in Dale Tallon’s first Florida draft in 2010. He went to Michigan, and was doing OK.

He went back for his senior year and exploded. After scoring 13 goals in his first three seasons combined, he had 22 as a senior and was considered one of the top college players in the country.

What a steal for Florida, right?

Well, as a senior, if you don’t sign with your drafted team you can become a free agent in the summer. According to what Tallon said then, he wanted to sign with the Panthers but only if he joined the team then (at the end of the 2014-15 season) and burned his first year of the ELC.

Tallon said he wouldn’t have it; the Panthers were in the playoff hunt (this is the year they traded for Jaromir Jagr) and he felt it was not right for players in the AHL to be passed over for the college prospect.

Since he wasn’t going to sign and Dale did not like having terms dictated to him, he traded him to Toronto for Greg McKegg.

So, that was that. Probably more to it on Hyman’s end we would think, but that’s how it went down from the Florida perspective.

We have a really short time between the end of the Finals and the start of free agency. Are we going to be able to get contracts done before then and have any sense of what we definitely need to find in free agency or do we end up with more of our pending UFA’s testing the market just because it is so close to the window?

And thanks for all the coverage this season! It has to be a lot of fun to have covered this team like this over the past couple of seasons. — Bryan

Thanks Bryan.

Quick answer: Yes. The Panthers will have plenty of time to work on free agency and draft stuff regardless of how long this goes.

This is not some barebones staff anymore. Zito and his front office has been working on everything leading into the upcoming draft and what comes next.

Plus, let’s not forget, the Panthers have been talking to the agents for players on this team and have a pretty good idea — just like last year — of players they want to target.

As Zito always says, there is not just a Plan A and a Plan B. The Panthers have things worked out to Plan ZZZ.

Moves By Bill Zito Built Florida Panthers into a Powerhouse

First, kudos to Brian for a superbly documented synopsis. Living in FLA for all those early years, PBP and Sun-Sentinel were mandatory reading. But to the point, I met Denny Potvin briefly, but was never apprised of what the deal was re his abrupt removal from the broadcast. Could you enlighten me? — Zeke1961

What, you never read the Miami Herald?

I’m not answering your question today, sir.

OK, you do read FHN so … agreed that was a ‘fun’ look back by Brian Biggane. Crazy times back then.

As far as Denis Potvin goes, he and Michael Yormark did not get along all that great and the decision to originally move on from Potvin was due to him spending his offseason in Canada.

Yormark liked having season ticket drives in the summer — and Potvin could not make appearances at them.

That’s what he said anyway. The truth was, it was to save money. The Panthers went from having four broadcasters — two in TV, two on radio — to three. Randy Moller did radio by himself for a time.

The Panthers, of course, brought Potvin home a few years later.

What does Zito have to do to win the Jim Gregory General Manager of the Year Award?! Can you give me a list what you think are the top ten (or whatever number you choose) moves that he has made since joining the club. He seems like an incredible and dynamic leader. And I heard Maurice say the neighbors stopped calling the cops on him, which is nice. — Jon Baldwin

Thanks for the question Jon, but I don’t really know what it takes to win the GM of the Year Award. It is voted on by the GMs themselves, so, whatever they feel, I guess.

As far as his top moves go, you can start with the Matthew Tkachuk trade, look at the deadline deals for Sam Bennett and Brandon Montour.

How about picking up Gus Forsling off waivers then signing him to an eight-year deal for (what?) $5.5 million per. He also signed Sasha Barkov and Tkachuk, got Carter Verhaeghe, traded for Patric Hornqvist

Ok, running out of space.

It appears as if Maurice is keeping the 4th line intact while the team is winning, but I miss Lomberg and Cousins, and think they are the better pair. Any chance they get in if the Cats continue to win? — Cats and Oilers

Yeah, for sure. The Panthers have five forward lines going and, if Paul Maurice thinks things need to be changed up, he will make the change.

George, I’m allowing myself to believe. I’m hearing talk that Edmonton defends well as a team, but how much of that is ‘we need storylines’ vs. ‘reality’. I’ve watched a LOT of Panthers hockey this year and you can’t tell me EDM has 3 D-pairs that can contain us and combat our forecheck. I have a hard time believing Skinner can stone-wall us like the three other Goalie’s we’ve seen these Playoffs. What does your expertise tell you? — Ed Purchase

Ed, I hear you — and agree with many of the points you make right here.

The Panthers are skilled, deep, tough, and focused.

Stuart Skinner turned things around in the Vancouver series and was excellent against Dallas. So, perhaps he is back on point.

We’ll see.

As a painfully ardent Panther fan from day 1 in ‘93, for the first time I have a settled sense that the big prize is attainable. I believe this erratic journey is reaching its glorious glide-path. None of this could have presented itself without the genius of Bill “Cup-Coalescing” Zito at the helm. Should our wild and crazy optimistic expectation be realized, what would be a fitting expression of gratitude to this man for his invaluable contributions? — Zeke1961

Well, he just got a promotion and a contract extension — which I expect included a nice raise.

So there’s that.

Maybe a trip to Costa Rica to do some fishing?

We covered Caddyshack last time, how about Blues Brothers this time? Thanks for all the great coverage G-man — Jon Baldwin

Thanks J-Man. Appreciate that.

So, what do you want to know about Blues Brothers?

All I know is I have a hankering for some dry white toast.

And an orange whip.

For More FHN Coverage of the Florida Panthers:

  • When: Saturday, 8 p.m.
  • Where: Amerant Bank Arena, Sunrise
  • National TV: ABC
  • Streaming: ESPN+/Hulu
  • Radio: WQAM 560-AM; WPOW 96.5-FM2; WBZT 1230-AM (West Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); WCZR 101.7-FM (Treasure Coast); SiriusXM
  • Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932, NHL app
  • Series Schedule, All Games 8 p.m. on ABC — Game 1:Edmonton at Florida, Saturday; Game 2: Edmonton at Florida, Monday June 10; Game 3: Florida at Edmonton, Thursday June 13; Game 4: Florida at Edmonton, Saturday June 15; Game 5*: Edmonton at Florida, Tuesday June 18; Game 6*: Florida at Edmonton, Friday June 21; Game 7*: Edmonton at Florida, Monday June 24. (*) – If Necessary
  • How They Got Here — Florida: d. Tampa Bay 4-1, Boston 4-2, New York Rangers 4-2; Edmonton: d. Los Angeles 4-1, Vancouver 4-3, Dallas 4-2.
  • This Season (Florida Won 2-0) — At Florida: Panthers 5, Oilers 3 (Nov. 20). At Edmonton: Panthers 5, Oilers 2 (Dec. 17).
  • Last Season: Edmonton Won 2-0
  • All-time Regular Season Series: Oilers lead 23-16-0, 3 ties
  • Postseason History: First Meeting

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