Florida Panthers sign forward Evan Rodrigues to four-year deal

The Florida Panthers aren’t done making free agent additions to their roster.

After signing numerous players Saturday, the Panthers added another Sunday morning in former Colorado Avalanche forward Evan Rodrigues. The deal is for four seasons at a $3 million cap hit per year.

Rodrigues, 29, scored 16 goals and had 23 assists in 69 games last season for the Avalanche. In the year prior with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Rodrigues recorded career-highs in goals (19) and assists (24) while playing in all 82 regular-season games.

“Rodrigues brings skill and the ability to compete in three zones of the ice,” said Panthers general manager Bill Zito in a statement. “A culture fit and someone who adds versatility to our lineup, we can’t wait to welcome Evan to the Panthers.”

Rodrigues was an undrafted free agent who signed with the Buffalo Sabres after four years of college hockey at Boston University. He spent five seasons with the Sabres before being dealt to the Penguins in February 2020. Then, his rights were flipped to the Toronto Maple Leafs six months later, but the Maple Leafs (his hometown team) never gave him a qualifying offer and he re-signed with the Penguins.

The Avalanche brought Rodrigues in last season on a one-year $2 million deal.

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A spot opened up for Rodrigues Saturday evening when the Panthers traded Anthony Duclair to the San Jose Sharks for forward Steven Lorentz and a 2025 fifth-round draft pick. Former Winnipeg Jet Kevin Stenlud is a forward that the Panthers also signed on Saturday.

The Panthers now have all 23 roster spots filled with a projected $362,000 in cap space, according to CapFriendly. Most of the Panthers’ retooling has been at the defensive core, but the forward group will look different too, especially without Duclair.

True, Lockwood, Mayhew sign two-way deals

The Panthers made other transactions Sunday in the signings of two-way forwards Alexander True, William Lockwood and Gerry Mayhew.

Lockwood’s deal spans two years, while True’s and Mayhew’s are each for one season.

True played 72 games for the Coachella Valley Firebirds in the AHL last season, riding all the way to the Calder Cup Final.

At 6 foot 5, True has played in 27 NHL games, mostly for the San Jose Sharks. He appeared in eight games for the Seattle Kraken in 2021-22, but none last season.

Lockwood, 25, is a former third-round pick by the Vancouver Canucks in 2016. Most of his time has been spent in the minor league, and in 28 NHL games he’s yet to score and has tallied just one assist.

Lockwood is a product of the U.S National Team Development Program and a former teammate of Panthers star Matthew Tkachuk.

Mayhew played in 69 games for the Charlotte Checkers last season and was tied for the team-lead in goals (24) and third in points (44). He’s had NHL stints with the Minnesota Wild, Philadelphia Flyers and Anaheim Ducks.