The Panthers signed defenseman Ed Jovanovski to a four-year deal on Friday, bringing back their former first round pick.
Jovanovski was the top pick of the 1994 NHL draft. He was part of the Panthers run to the 1996 Stanley Cup Finals but left when Florida sent him to Vancouver in the Pavel Bure deal.
Jovanovski has spent the past five seasons with the Coyotes.
Jovanovski's first NHL contract came with the Panthers and this will likely be his last. He will be 35 when the 2011-12 season begins. He'll get $16.5 million over the course of the deal.
Florida's blue line now looks like this:
Erik Gudbranson (maybe)
OFFICIAL PANTHERS RELEASE
Florida Panthers Executive Vice President & General Manager Dale Tallon announced today that the club has agreed to terms with D Ed Jovanovski on a four-year contract.
Jovanovski joins D Brian Campbell, F Tomas Kopecky, G Jose Theodors and F Scottie Upshall as new Panthers signings over the last week.
“Ed is a veteran defenseman who wanted to return to Florida and we are pleased to have him back in a Panthers uniform,” said Tallon. “He is a five-time NHL All-Star, who has played in more than 1,000 games and will be a mentor for our young defensemen and a leader in the locker room. Ed played an important part in the early success of our franchise and we look forward to his return to South Florida and the Panthers family.”
Jovanovski, 35, returns to South Florida after originally being drafted by the Florida Panthers with their first choice in the 1994 National Hockey League Entry Draft. The Windsor, Ontario native helped the Panthers capture the 1996 Eastern Conference Championship and the team’s first spot in the Stanley Cup Finals. He places among the franchise’s all-time defensemen leaders with 29 goals (4th), 54 assists (7th), 83 points (6th) and 549 PIM (3rd).
The 6-foot-3, 220-pound defenseman has played in 1,019 career NHL games with Florida (1995-98), Vancouver (1998-2006) and Phoenix (2006-11) scoring 133 goals with 348 assists and 1,421 PIM. He has also appeared in 69 post season contests registering 30 points (11-19-30) and 98 PIM.
Jovanovski, a five-time NHL All-Star (2001, 2002, 2003, 2007, 2008), also won a Gold Medal while playing for Team Canada at the 2002 Winter Olympics.