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TIME TO SHOP: Florida Panthers buyout Jovo, head into free agency with plenty of cash


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TWITTER: @GeorgeRichards
With his team for sale and under orders to not spend any money, last year's opening of the free agency market put Dale Tallon in the strange position of being a spectator.
The financial handcuffs have been taken off this time around.
When the NHL's free agent period opens Tuesday at noon, Tallon expects to be busy.
The Panthers, as far as free agents go, are back open for business. Whether Tallon can persuade top-end talent to sign up is another matter.
"We have addressed needs on our team and have a list of people we think can help us,'' Tallon said Saturday at the NHL draft. "Now it's a matter of selling them on the benefits of coming to Florida to help us turn the franchise around.
''We have great players, a goaltender [Roberto Luongo] and ownership willing to spend. It's a great place to live. We're using every tool possible to get guys to come to Fort Lauderdale.''
Although Tallon's work this week will be overshadowed by what his NBA neighbors in Miami do, Tallon will attempt to make a splash in signing a few defensemen as well as a few forwards.
Some needs could be filled through a trade or two, although Tallon is expected to get most of his new acquisitions via free agency.
Although this isn't the strongest free agent class in recent memory, there are players out there who could improve the Panthers' roster.
"We will be aggressive and have room to spend,'' Tallon said. "We have some needs and want to help our young guys develop. .-.-. help these young kids get through the potholes.''
Florida is a little over $30 million under the league-mandated cap of $69 million with new ownership telling Tallon he's authorized to be closer to the cap ceiling than the floor.
The Panthers are about $14 million shy of the cap floor ($51 million) but that will quickly change.
The signing of restricted free agents (noteably Dmitry Kulikov, Brandon Pirri, Jimmy Hayes and Erik Gudbranson) as well as top draft pick Aaron Ekblad should pull Florida closer to -- or even over -- the cap floor.
On Monday, captain Ed Jovanovski was officially bought out of the last season of his four-year contract.
Jovanovski's buyout -- for $2.75 million of the $4 million he was scheduled to make -- will not count against the cap as Florida used one of its two compliance (amnesty) buyouts it had at its disposal.
“We sincerely thank Ed for his seven years of service and dedication to the Florida Panthers and the South Florida community,” Tallon said in a statement issued by the team.
“This was not an easy decision.''
Although Jovanovski's money won't count against the cap, Florida does attribute $1.4 million from last year's buyout of Filip Kuba against it as well as $2.2 million of Kris Verteeg's retained salary from last year's trade with Chicago.
Florida has been rumored to be involved in a potential trade with Philadelphia which would bring former Tampa Bay star center Vinny Lecavalier back to the Sunshine State.
If that deal was to go through -- it's considered doubtful as Lecavalier's productivity has slipped and he's signed for three more years -- it wouldn't be until Wednesday.
Lecavalier, bought out by the Lightning last summer, is due a $2 million bonus on Tuesday and any team interested in the 2004 Stanley Cup champ wants the Flyers to pay that fee.
The Panthers could also have interest in some of the new additions to the free agency market. Like Jovanovski, a handful of other players were bought out and are able to sign with any team.
Those players include former Buffalo defenseman Christian Ehrhoff and Arizona center Mike Ribiero.
Florida could also resign fourth-line winger Jesse Winchester who scored a career-high nine goals last year.


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Great picture George, taken about the last time the Panthers were relevent..Hope it's about to change!!

Hope we can make a splash instead of the usual 3rd/4th liners we pick up in FA. The burden should not be on the young guys, who aren't even old enough to drink, to handle the big minutes and the scoring. The future's bright, but it could be brighter depending on who Tallon can get to help the young players out.

I would rather see one of the kids get the roster spot than Winchester.

I agree with Steve. I bet Tallon will go after Bolland tomorrow, which wouldn't solve to much for us. Good for 3rd or 4th line thought.

I think we need to get a top LW and RW to play with Barkov.

Wow a career high 9 goals. Who needs him?

I'm feeling good about this season...please tell me you were being facetious by mentioning Ribiero, however.

I'm thinking Dale's going to buy Tommy Vanek. Vanek had proven to be a money chaser of the highest order. Dale will use his blank check there with a VERY limited NTC. He'll also try to grab Ehrhoff and will make a tempting offer to Matt Moulson. Let the kids fill in the open slots...away we go. #pipedream

I wouldn't be surprised to see a few trades with teams that are fighting the salary cap, the Bruins for example may swap Boychuk or Marchand for space..With us trading either a prospect or pick..Orpik may a possibility for Panthers. We have 13 players under contract with Gudbrandson, Kulikov, Pirri, and Hayes likely resigned which brings us to 17...Probably 1 or 2 current players traded/released moved off the roster allowing for 4 decent free agents likely 2 d-men and 2 forwards.... Just guessing, but that's the fun of the board

Te excuse for not spending much will be again that the players don't want to come here. Getting tired of Tallon speeches - Will Watch WORLD CUP SOCCER !!! The world teams have EXCELLENT SMART WINNING COACHES and also I noted they have OPPOSING TEAMS RESEARCH MANAGERS (NETHERLANDS) that's very smart !!!

If you have a Barkov you need a Jokineen or Niskaneen-it's that simple! Also a good second goalie to keep Luongo awake...

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