By Ross Simon on April 27, 2014
The Florida Panthers are strapped for cash. Here are five players who are unlikely to return for next season.
Jesse Winchester is a 30-year-old center. Although head coach Peter Horachek praised the play of Winchester and fellow veterans, he's an unrestricted free agent who is unlikely to be brought back. He had 18 points on the season.
Tom Gilbert is a 34-year-old defensemen. Although he was on the top pairing most of the season with Brian Campbell, Gilbert certainly would not be considered a top-pair defensemen by the majority of NHL teams. Unfortunately for the Panthers, if they want to keep Gilbert, they'll have to pay him like a top guy. He is an unrestricted free agent.
Dmitry Kulikov is a 23-year-old defensemen drafted No. 14 overall by the Panthers in 2009. Kulikov is someone the Panthers certainly want to bring back, as he could be a top-pair defensemen for the future, but he is a restricted free agent. A team in need of a high energy top-four defensemen could absolutely send a big contract Kulikov's way.
Scott Gomez is a 34-year-old center best known for being traded by the New York Rangers to the Montreal Canadiens for a young Ryan McDonough. Gomez signed an albatross of a contract with the Rangers in 2008 for 7 years and $ 51.5 million. A Calder trophy winner before that contract, he's never been above a +3 in a season again. Gomez was bought out by the Canadiens after the 2012-13 lockout. He is an unrestricted free agent.
Ed Jovanovski is the 37-year-old captain of the Florida Panthers and plays defense. Although "Jovo" has one year remaining on his contract, at $ 4.4 million, he is likely to retire this offseason due to injury. Jovanovski totaled five points in 34 games played.
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