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FREE AGENT FRENZY: Florida Panthers busy early on in signing Bolland, J.Jokinen, Thornton, MacKenzie and Montoya

TWITTER: @GeorgeRichards
The Panthers were a busy bunch as the free agency period kicked off Tuesday at noon.
First, Florida inked former Carolina and Pittsburgh winger Jussi Jokinen to a four-year deal worth $16 million.
Soon afterward, center Dave Bolland joined the team with a five-year deal worth $5.5 million each season. Bolland, drafted by Florida GM Dale Tallon in Chicago, is a two-time Stanley Cup champ with the Blackhawks. He spent a rough season in Toronto last year as he missed a big part of the season after suffering a severed ankle tendon.
The Panthers also officially said goodbye to enforcer Krys Barch as Boston tough Shawn Thornton was signed to a reported two-year deal. Thornton has spent the past seven seasons in Boston but also has a Tallon connection as he once played in Chicago.
Thornton has played in 559 NHL games and has incurred 906 penalty minutes.
Florida also brought in some competition for the backup goaltending job by signing former University of Michigan standout Al Montoya.
Montoya, the first Cuban-American to ever play in the NHL, spent the past four years with the Islanders and Jets.
The fifth player to sign on with Florida was another forward as former Columbus center Derek MacKenzie signed a three-year pact. MacKenzie, who was drafted and broke in with the old Atlanta Thrashers, is expected to compete for a spot on one of Florida bottom two lines.
The Panthers now need to go after some defensemen and word is that is exactly what they are doing.
Stay tuned.
More to come as the free agency period rolls on.
Follow me on Twitter @GeorgeRichards for information as it comes in.


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Wow.This owner is serious about winning!

This is not meant to be overly critical, just an analysis so far and reality.

While Jokinen is an above average offensive player, and Bolland is an above average Defensive Centerman, they way overpaid for a coming off a major injury player in Bolland ($5.5M p/y, rukme!), who sacrifices point scoring for point stopping. Will he even be the same player? Thomas Vanek is making $6.5M p/y and Stastny $7M. Far better players, for a little more money. I know who would want to play in South Florida's decades old punching bag?

It is looking like this is a team that will bring in no one that will light the lamp at any knid of near high end rate. Very disappointing indeed. And with the Goalie and yet another C/F..we have but $6M left since we have to sign our own FAs.

Defense needs a proven scorer, and 1 crusher to go with the young back end defensive depth, but with Campbell expressing his apparent desire to vacate the BB&T, maybe a trade is pending down the line.

Right now, things look only a little bit better than they did without spending $13M p/y more on these players.

Pray that our young players really come on next year.

Go Panthers!

With Jovo out Campbell will be offered the C if he stays put- so your'e wrong. Jussy Jokineen and Bolland will fit fine if Bolland can fill the Goc role. I don't know why they got Mac Kenzie with 18 points in 77 games but wikipedia says…..His father, Ken MacKenzie, is the assistant general manager of the Sudbury Wolves

Can we say draft lottery

What a joke. The same old same old. Has beens and never weres improving their golf games in South Florida. These lame signings are really going to pack the seats at the BLT. Better get your tickets now folks.

McDavid/Eichel in 2015 - there's your new blueprint!

And why did we go after people we've never heard of? What about Vanek and Statsny? God almighty! Same crap year after year. This team is never going to attract anyone. Lets face it people. I will not be attending any games next year.

How does ownership expect us to compete with average players? So ridiculous.

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