At lunchtime on Monday afternoon, the Florida Panthers were about $6 million under the salary cap. After trading Anton Stralman later that day, GM Bill Zito gave himself almost $12 million with free agency opening up Wednesday at noon.
Although the Panthers have a few more players left to sign to contracts — with Sam Reinhart getting the lion’s share of that money — Zito now has some breathing room to make bring in a free agent or two.
And, if Zito could move another contract on Tuesday, he will have even more to throw around.
Where could Zito be looking?
As we noted on Monday, the Panthers are probably set as far as forwards go.
There could be a player bought out or not tendered a qualifying offer who could pique their interest, but we don’t expect the Panthers to invest any big money on forwards. They have done that already.
What is more likely to happen is the Panthers go looking for some defensive help.
And, if we have learned anything over the years, it does not come cheap.