The Florida Panthers will head into the 2013-14 looking to recover from a last place finish in 2013 that marked one of the low points in franchise history. Their roster will feature a handful of players who are 21 or younger, which will give them one of the youngest average age marks in the league. The Panthers signed veteran center Scott Gomez to a one-year contract on Wednesday, which will mess that average up a bit but could end up being a great low-risk, high-reward signing.
Gomez spent the 2013 season with the San Jose Sharks, scoring two goals and adding 13 assists in 39 games. He may not still be in the same form that saw him score 33 goals and rack up 84 points for the New Jersey Devils during the 2005-06 season, but it appeared at times last season that he can still contribute at the NHL level. In nearly 950 career games with the Devils, New York Rangers, Montreal Canadiens and the Sharks, Gomez has scored 171 goals and has 601 points.
Last season the Panthers brought veteran winger Alex Kovalev in, but he lasted just 14 games with the team. They will hope the Gomez signing works out better for them, and that their young forwards can learn from the experience of the two-time Stanley Cup champion. The Panthers have been fairly quiet this offseason, as the signing of Gomez as well as a new two-year deal for goaltender Jacob Markstrom and a three-year entry-level deal for 2013 draft pick Aleksander Barkov being the most noteworthy of their moves in the past few weeks.