The Florida Panthers have a lot of needs to address in the offseason, as they try and rebuild after finishing last in the league for the 2013 season. They’ll pick early in the draft, and have to weigh whether to take a player who can have an immediate impact or the best available player regardless of readiness for the highest level. Scoring and getting scored on were not strong areas for the Panthers this season, and as they look to a handful of free agent forwards, one stands out as an easy option to walk away from. Former first-round pick Jack Skille turned in another disappointing season, and the Panthers would be best off parting ways with the underperforming restricted free agent.
Skille isn’t likely to get much more money on the open market, so if the Panthers can retain him for under $1 million per season he might be worth keeping around. Since being taken seventh overall in the 2005 draft (by the Chicago Blackhawks), Skille proved he could score 20 or more goals per season in the AHL but has really struggled to find any success in the NHL. He scored three goals and had 12 points for the Panthers this season, and seems to be little more than a third or fourth line player at this point.
The Panthers need players in their lineup who can score, and they can’t afford to waste any more time waiting for Skille to reach his potential. It has now been two seasons since he posted a career-high eight goals and 19 points, and that just isn’t good enough to justify a new contract.