By Ross Simon on April 28, 2014
The Panthers are obviously in rebuilding mode, but they can still make a splash in free agency this year and help their team grow in the immediate future. With about $ 30 million in cap space to work with, they have a lot of room. However, they are losing money hand over fist, so let's assume they'll spend about half of that.
Andy Miele is exactly the kind of value player the Florida Panthers should sign. The former Hobey Baker award winner (the Heisman of college hockey) has never been given a true chance in the NHL simply because he is undersized. He is lighting-quick on his skates and has an incredible snap shot as well. The Panthers could snatch him up for the league minimum.
Steve Downie is the type of player the Panthers envisioned recruiting when they traded for Roberto Luongo. Part of a winning culture in Philadelphia for the past six seasons, Downie has never been able to truly break into the Flyers' core with Claude Giroux and Wayne Simmonds. The Panthers should be able to get him for about four years at $ 3.5-4.5 million per year.
Dominic Moore is a journeyman in the NHL, having played for 11 teams including the Panthers. Moore knows what it's like to face adversity -- he took off all of last season in order to grieve the death of his wife, who succumbed to a rare form of liver cancer. Moore is the perfect voice of reason for the Panthers' young forwards Alexander Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau. He can be had for about $ 1 million per season for two years.
George Parros is an eight-year veteran and is also a journeyman of the NHL. Having already done a stop in Florida during the 2012-13 season, he certainly knows what it's like to play at the BB&T Center. Known mostly as a fighter, Parros will be able to provide a veteran voice to go along with Brian Campbell on defense. Although his moustache alone is worth $ 10 million, the Panthers should be able to sign him for the league minimum.
Olli Jokinen is arguably the greatest Panther of all time. Most Panther fans remember the years of Olli with the 'C' on his chest rather than the years of Pavel Bure. Jokinen is 34 and this will probably be one of his last contracts if a team is willing to lock him up for three years. The Panthers should try and bring back the captain for two or three years and $ 4.3 million per season, with the hope that he provides a hometown discount.
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