After not being offered a qualifying offer by the Lightning, the Florida Panthers signed young center Carter Verhaeghe on Friday afternoon.
The last time the Panthers signed a Tampa Bay player who seemed buried under the Lightning’s talented roster was Jonathan Marchessault in 2016.
Florida is definitely hoping for a similar season from Verhaeghe who could slide into a second or third-line role with the Panthers.
The Panthers also signed former Tampa Bay defenseman Radko Gudas not long after Friday’s free agent market opened up.
According to Puckpedia.com, the Panthers have 15 players under contract and are about $15 million under the salary cap
‘’Carter’s come a long way,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said during the playoffs per the Tampa Bay Times.
“I watched him in the Calder Cup playoffs last year, and if there was a guy that stood out to me, it was him. He’s not afraid to go into dirty areas, and he’s got sneaky good skill.”
Verhaeghe was originally drafted by the Maple Leafs in 2013, played in the Islanders system before spending two seasons with Tampa Bay’s AHL team in Syracuse.
He made his NHL debut with the Lightning last season and scored nine goals with 13 points in 52 games.
Florida signed him to a two-year deal worth a reported $2 million over the course of the contract.