The NHL opened it's free agency a few days ago on July 1. The Florida Panthers haven't made many big moves and they still need a few more pieces if they want to put a playoff team on the ice next season.
This year has been in stark contrast to 2011 when the Panthers' general manager Dale Tallon signed several high profile players on the first day of free agency. This year the Cats have only scratched out a few mediocre players in the free-agent market despite the need to bolster the roster. As of June 3 the Panthers had the fourth lowest payroll in the NHL and plenty of cap room to spare.
My biggest concern on the Cats' depth chart is on the right side. As of July 3 the Panthers had Scottie Upshall, Tomas Kopecky, and George Parros covering the right wing. Kris Versteeg is a restricted free-agent and has yet to re-sign. Even if Versteeg does re-sign with the Cats, the right wing position is still suspect.
This is probably the best free-agent right wing left on the market. Kostitsyn is only 27 years old so he's still plenty fast. He only scored 36 points last season but he is a proven 40 point goal scorer from his several seasons with the Montreal Canadiens. I think if he were to be paired up with Marcel Goc and Kris Versteeg on the Panthers' first line he could get his numbers back up.
Here's a guy form the"remember when" file that can still play. The 42 year-old wing can still get down and drive the net. Last season Selanne scored 66 points and played 82 games. These aren't blistering numbers but his experience would work well for the Cats in the short term.
This is another guy who's been around the block a few times. Langenbrunner hasn't had the greatest production in the last couple of years but it was only a few seasons ago when he put up 61 points with the New Jersey Devils. I think a guy like this would be able to pick his production back up again if given the right opportunity.
This is one of the most exiting times of the offseason for an NHL team. There's not telling who Tallon and the Cats may decide to bring aboard so stay tuned over the next couple of days and watch next year's team take shape.
More from this contributor:
All free agency dates and information from NHL.com
All statistics from Yahoo! Sprots
Kristian Eberwein is a freelance journalist from Orlando, Florida. He was an English major at the University of Central Florida and has been a part of the Florida hockey community for the past twenty years. Follow him on Twitter @KrisEberwein
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