The Florida Panthers haven’t had the best offseason of any team throughout the league. In fact, they’ve probably had one of the worst, in terms of upgrading a roster that finished at or near the bottom of the league in nearly every category last season.
Make no mistake about it, this is a team in a rebuild. That’s part of the reason that they spent virtually nothing this summer, with the exception of maintaining the talent that they had already employed. They’re relying on youth and a healthy season in order to help them reach the postseason for the second consecutive season.
In addition to failing to make an impact signing or trade acquisition, there was at least one player that the Panthers should have found a way to remove from their roster. That player is veteran, and relatively useless, defenseman Ed Jovanovski.
Jovo has served his purpose with the team. He was a valuable leader in the locker room for the Cats when they did reach the playoffs in 2011-12. But coming off of a season in which he managed to appear in only six games, on top of the fact that he may not even be ready for next season in time for the year to start, it was time to cut him loose.
With an inexplicable two years remaining on his deal, at a cap hit over $4 million, the Panthers would have been better served using a compliance buyout on Jovanovski, given a lack of other candidates to use them on. Of course, health may have played a role in them being unable to use one.
Jovo is a veteran guy, which is beneficial for a young team off the ice. On the ice, though, the Panthers have enough talent, and some young guys worth a look, that they’d be just fine rolling without him. Hip injuries are nothing to mess around with, and with a guy as old as Jovanovski trying to recover from one, it’s tough to see him making that large of an impact for the Florida Panthers in 2013-14.