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NHL Free Agency: Montour, OEL, Stolarz, Stenlund Leave

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Anthony Stolarz and Oliver Ekman-Larsson (top) are headed to the Toronto Maple Leafs; Kevin Stenlund goes to Utah; Brandon Montour is off to Seattle as the first moments of the NHL Free Agency period was full of action. // File Photos

Brandon Montour, one of the top defensemen available when NHL Free Agency opened Monday at noon, will not return to the Florida Panthers after signing with the Seattle Kraken.

He gets a reported seven-year deal worth more than $49 million.

Oliver Ekman-Larsson, who spent this past season with the Panthers, goes to the Toronto Maple Leafs on a four-year deal.

Goalie Anthony Stolarz is also headed to Toronto on a two-year deal.

Kevin Stenlund, who centered Florida’s fourth line in his one year here and was one of the team’s top penalty killers, got a two-year deal with Utah for $4 million.

The Panthers also lost Ryan Lomberg, who went back to Calgary on a two-year, $4 million deal.

Florida has re-signed Sam Reinhart (eight years, $69 million) and Dmitry Kulikov (four/$4.8m).

Montour, 30, spent the past four seasons with the Panthers after being a deadline trade from Buffalo in 2021 for a third round pick when Aaron Ekblad went down with a leg injury.

It appeared Montour was going to leave the Panthers when the NHL Free Agency window opened in 2021, but the day before the market opened, he re-signed with Florida on a three year deal which just expired.

“You obviously get to explore and see what’s out there,’’ Montour said then

“My interest was never like that. I wanted to be a Panther. You know the business side, so you’ve got to work that through, but this is where I want to be.”

Montour became one of the top character players on a Florida team full of them.

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He was also a standout player on the Florida blueline, and quarterbacked one of the two power play units for the past couple of years.

With free agency a reality this time around, Montour knew his time with the Panthers was limited — but he kept rolling toward the goal and helped Florida win the Stanley Cup for the first time.

After winning the Stanley Cup last Monday night, Montour talked about how special it was to do it with the Panthers — and to be able to celebrate it with his son Kai, who was born during last year’s Final.

“It’s pretty crazy,” Montour said. “Having him last year, it would have been nice to win that one. But for him to be here, obviously a little older, and to experience it in his first year. You know, he’s 1 now and to share this with him, it’s pretty cool.”

Ekman-Larsson came to the Panthers after being part of the biggest buyout in NHL history got $3.5 million per season from Toronto.

Stolarz got two years and $5 million from the Leafs; he played with Florida on a one-year contract worth just north of $1 million and put up the best stats of any goalie in the NHL last season.

More FHN Coverage of the Stanley Cup Champion Panthers:

UP NEXT FOR THE FLORIDA PANTHERS
  • NHL Free Agency: Today
  • Florida Panthers Development Camp, Fort Lauderdale: Early July
  • Florida Panthers Training Camp, Fort Lauderdale: Mid-September
  • Florida Panthers Preseason: Sept. 22-Oct. 5
  • Florida Panthers Opening Night/Banner Unveiling: Oct. 8 v. Boston Bruins

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Zeke1961

Monty a foregone conclusion when Reino signed; OEL and Stoly most likely kick the Leafs up a notch. Sorry to see them go.

Panther Paw

OEL is a year older and his injury-free season was a fluke. I am sorrybhenis leaving, but we may be looking to get a bit younger.
Not sure Montour is worth $7M/season either.

surveyjay

I here ya, but that’s market value, I don’t think my home owners Insurance should be six thousand dollars a year either, but here we are. Lol

Tom

Yet Gustav Forsling took less to stay with the Panthers for 8 years – 5.75 million to be exact. He is WAY better than Montour. Players sign less than market value because they want to stay here to WIN, WIN, and WIN some more. Same with Reino – his “market value” was likely 10.5-11 million and he also took a cut to stay here.

Susan wagner

This will make u feel better. Our h/o incl hurricane cvg w.large deductible yearly is just under 14k We don’t live in a mansion but also not a dump. Lol. My adult son says “it is what it is”. Monty, he wl enjoy SEA until tax man comes around, but winning the Cup makes everyone want/need to capitalize on the interest $$$$ since never know what life has in store for an athlete physically. How are taxes in Canada? Isn’t it Socialist? All these changes and just a wk ago we were just starting 7. These changes are too soon… Read more »

Cats and Oilers

I know we were strapped but to lose Stenlund for 2mil AAV hurts, as it does with Lomberg. I thought we would be able to retain at least one of them.

Panther Paw

They may re-sign Lorentz for his faceoffs. Losing Lomberg hurts!

Susan wagner

I think it just goes back to playing time. It’s ego driven and as a non athletic female, I get it. Who is dying to be on the bench or not play? Damned if we do & damned if we don’t. But we successfully avoided losing players due to lots of injuries by being overloaded.
We just send our ducklings back into the world after they grow.
Guess Stenlund missed snow 🙂

surveyjay

Stenlund the one that hurts me, that guy was MONEY on the pk, with his great stop and start, that super long reach, and more than anything, his compete..he truley changed the whole look of our PK. He will be missed.

Tom

BUT he was AWFUL in the dot. We just upgraded at 4C with Tomas Nosek who averages about 57% in the faceoff circle. Also, he is bigger than Stenlund.

Last edited 14 days ago by Thomas Wareham
ConkmanFL

I think he was signed specifically to be Stenlund’s replacement on the PK, but he is not bigger, he is 2″ shorter which also will mean less of a reach with his stick. I hope he fits in seamlessly as Stens was excellent in that role. I was hoping to keep him, but I don’t blame any player that has not had the chance to make a lot of money previously, and they get a nice pay raise to play elsewhere. The ones I question, are the guys that have made 40, 60, 80 million in their careers already, choosing… Read more »

Susan wagner

Isn’t Nosek going to be unofficial enforcer as well as pk, or will we hv to lock him up? 🤗

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