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Florida Roll Call: Future of Markus Nutivaara with the Panthers

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Defenseman Markus Nutivaara only played in one game for the Florida Panthers during the 2021-22 season due to having hip surgery after sustaining an injury the day before opening night. — Photo courtesy @FlaPanthers

You are forgiven if you forgot Markus Nutivaara was a member of the Florida Panthers this past season.

But he was.

The defenseman, who played in 30 games with the Panthers in 2021, was hurt on the eve of the 2021-22 season-opener and only played in one game.

Nutivaara apparently crashed into the net during practice the day before Florida opened its season against Pittsburgh.

He missed a few weeks, came back in Andrew Brunette’s coaching debut against Detroit and eventually opted for surgery on his hip.

His season totals: One game played, one assist, 7:01 played.

It was a tough season, for sure, one in which Nutivaara was around his team for much of it.

Now a free agent, it is unlikely that Nutivaara returns.

For the most part, he never really got to show the Panthers what he could do.

Florida originally acquired Nutivaara before free agency opened in 2020, new GM Bill Zito trading with his old team.

With the Blue Jackets trying to shed money in the thought Pierre-Luc Dubois was going to be signed to an offer sheet, Nutivaara and his $2.7 million cap hit were sent the Panthers in exchange for prospect Cliff Pu.

Nutivaara missed the start of his first training camp with the Panthers due to Covid and only played in about half of the games that season due to injury.

Due to missing almost the entirety of last season, Nutivaara is not expected back with the Panthers but may still find a job in the NHL — likely on a one-year, discounted deal — if healthy.

Florida Panthers Roll Call is a recurring feature at Florida Hockey Now leading into the start of trade and free-agent season.

The NHL Draft begins July 7 in Montreal; the opening of free agency is July 13. 

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