The Panthers locked up another of their young stars Thursday, signing center Stephen Weiss to a six-year deal worth close to $19 million.
The Panthers have now locked in Weiss, Horton, captain Olli Jokinen, Bryan Allen, Mike Van Ryn and Ruslan Salei. Goalie Tomas Vokoun, acquired this past summer, also has four years remaining on his current contract.
Weiss, Horton and Allen were all signed to their long-term contracts (Allen signed for five years) this summer.
"This really shows a commitment from the organization as we are coming forward," coach and general manager Jacques Martin said. "This shows ownership is looking at the big picture and putting a team on the ice that is competitive and at an elite level. That's why we've made a commitment to these key players this summer."
More, obviously, in tomorrow's Miami Herald. Just wrote this quick for online.
Here are some quotes for you all to nosh on.
Jacques on Weiss’ signing:
“It takes time to come to an agreement both side are happy with. Stephen Weiss is a core player in our organization. We wanted to get him signed to a long-term deal. It’s good to have some stability and good to have the key blocks.’’
JM Importance of signing Weiss:
“It’s really important. It shows a commitment from the organization coming forward. Shows our ownership is looking at the big picture and putting a team on the ice that’s competitive and at an elite level. That’s why we’ve made a commitment to key players this summer.’’
JM Time it took to get the deal done:
“It came gradual but is something we worked on for almost two months. We had a meeting with his agent prior to the draft. It was a slow process, but both sides are excited about coming to an agreement.’’
“There’s no doubt Stephen wants to be a Panther. He loves it here. And he’s a guy the fans can identify with, like Nathan. We’re looking for big expectations from those players.’’
JM Expectations come with the money:
“Our expectations with Stephen are going to rise. The organization made the commitment to him now, so the expectations have to be raised. We expect him to be a major contributor.’’
JM The team:
“This year, look at the people we’ve signed. There’s higher expectations. Look at the organization, look at ownership. We’re making a commitment to these players. We need to be better, we need to make the playoffs. It’s not just one player, we have to be a better hockey team. Signing these players long term shows a commitment.’’
JM What Stephen needs to improve on:
“He’s been a disher in the past. I think he needs to shoot more. He’s a good playmaker.’’
JM On Noah Welch’s status:
“There’s no update. There’s not much, it’s a matter of time to get him to sign. There are no other options for him, so I’ve talked to his agent. I’m confident it will get done.’’
On Weiss signing:
“It’s definitely exciting. I was signed already, so I’m pretty happy. To see this is great. It all starts this year. We’ve had a great summer. The people want to be here and we want to win.’’
“It’s exciting for the players and for the fans. It’s nice to be here. Everyone knows Weiss is a great player, and he’s going to be here for a long time. I’m glad it’s done. I’m very happy for him, and everyone around the organization is happy. He’s a great player who is only going to get better.’’
Horton on the new attitude in the organization:
“We have a great coach and everyone in the organization wants to win, wants to get better. It’s going to be different. We’re going to be a different organization.’’