Florida Panthers general manager had a busy Monday as he not only signed three players — including Sam Bennett — to new contracts, but he also tendered qualifying offers to four of the team’s restricted free agents.
The cost wasn’t cheap, but the Panthers cleared $5.5 million off of this season’s salary cap.
As far as the RFAs go, Florida made offers to Sam Reinhart, Sam Montembeault, Juho Lammikko and Chase Priskie.
Some of the players Florida did not qualify include goalie Ryan Bednard and forward Lucas Wallmark — who is headed to the KHL but now is free to sign with any other NHL team if he were to return.
Bednard was a bit of a surprise based on his solid play in the minors.
While Florida could re-sign him, it may have just felt that in sharing AHL Charlotte with Seattle this season, there just wasn’t room for him here right now. Bednard deserves to get a legit chance to start at least in the AHL.
As far as the players tendered, well, Reinhart was a no-brainer. He could have a big new contract very soon.
Montembeault should battle Spencer Knight for a job in Florida this season but it is more than likely he starts in Charlotte.
Lammikko continues to be a nice story. He was demoted to Springfield in 2019 with the thought that he would return to the Panthers soon enough.
Instead, he was not recalled and he went home to play in Finland.
Lammikko continued to develop his game, came back last season and had a nice year scoring four goals in 44 games. He should contend for a spot on the fourth line.
Priskie, a South Florida native who came home to the Panthers in the Vincent Trocheck trade, had a solid year in Syracuse and should be in play for one of the final defensive spots in training camp.
FLORIDA PANTHERS LINKS
The Florida Panthers cleared up some valuable cap space on Monday with the trade of Anton Stralman.
We don’t think Florida is targeting any more forwards — at least not any major ones — but they are looking at improving the blueline. Where do they look? (FHN)
— Not long after Bennett re-upped with the Panthers, I went on with Jonathan Zaslow on 790 The Ticket here in Miami to talk about it. (790-AM)
— The Panthers also signed Noah Juulsen and Lucas Carlsson to one-year, two-way contracts on Monday. (FHN)
AROUND THE NHL
The Red Wings are keeping Marc Staal at least for this season (or until the trade deadline) as he said Detroit is an “exciting place to be.” I dig it, too.(DHN)
— Evgeny Svechnikov was the 15th pick in 2015 but now he’s a free agent after the Wings did not qualify him on Monday.(DHN)
— If NHL players go to Beijing, Pittsburgh’s Mike Sullivan will coach Team USA.(PHN)
— The Golden Knights signed Alec Martinez to a three-year deal and are now over the cap again. Could Marc-Andre Fleury be on the move? (VHN)
UPDATE: He is on the move. Fleury goes to the Chicago Blackhawks — with nothing coming back to the Knights in return. Pure salary dump.
— The Panthers weren’t the only team to clear some space as the Capitals did so as well. (WHN)
— Colorado’s talks with free agent goalie Philip Grubauer are not going all that well.(CHN)
— The Bruins made the qualifying offers as well. Who was left out?(BHN)
— The Flyers qualified goalie Carter Hart and defenseman Travis Sanheim but negotiations will roll on.(PHN)
— Surprisingly, San Jose did not qualify Ryan Donato.(SJHN)
— Here is the list of players who didn’t get their qualifying offers and are now free to sign elsewhere on Wednesday.(Puckpedia)
— Vancouver Hockey Now launches today at 1 with a lot of surprises to come. Check it out. (VHN)
JUST HOURS TO GO!
The big reveal at 10 a.m. PST.
We’ve got a big talker, big news and big stories coming. The countdown clock is almost at zero!https://t.co/GTC4v9SarD
— Vancouver Hockey Now (@VANhockeynow) July 27, 2021