The big news: Drumroll....
Florida trades Stefan Meyer to Phoenix in exchange for the negotiating rights to center Steve Reinprecht, a pending free agent. The Panthers then signed Reinprecht to a three-year deal.
''He's a speed guy and we wanted to increase our overall team speed,'' acting GM Randy Sexton said on a conference call. ''Nathan Horton did a good job for us at center last year, but that was an experiment. We had mixed results. He's a shooter, not really a set-up guy. We needed another center to go along with Stephen [Weiss]. He's a bonafide NHL center and will help guys like Horton, Frolik and Cory Stillman. He'll get them the puck.''
Reinprecht, 33, has been with the Coyotes for parts of the past four seasons. He scored 14 goals with 27 assists for the Yotes last season. In 552 career games, he has 120 goals and 214 assists. He's also a career plus-24.
The Panthers aren't going to give out the numbers, but I hear he signed for an average of just over $2 million over the course of the deal.
"We've upgraded our team,'' Sexton said, adding that Keith Ballard had nothing but good things to say about Reinprecht. ''He adds a lot of what we need. We feel strongly that he's going to be able to help us.''
According to Sexton, the deal with Phoenix was completed on Thursday, with the Panthers working with Reinprecht's agent last night to get the contract done.
Reinprecht is vacationing off the coast of Spain but should be back within cellphone range early next week.