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Becoming A Destination

Becoming A Destination

Sunday, 07.1.2012 / 8:07 PM ET / News
Associated Press
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Becoming A Destination

SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) - Scott Clemmensen watched the direction of the Florida Panthers change with a roster overhaul last summer. And because he believes better days are ahead, he's not leaving anytime soon.

Clemmensen and Florida agreed on a two-year extension, the first move the team announced Sunday when the NHL's free agent window opened. The Panthers also announced two-year contracts with defenseman Filip Kuba - a Florida draft pick in 1995 - and right wing George Parros, the enforcer who played for Anaheim when the Ducks won the Stanley Cup in 2007.

"I said it at the end of the year and it still holds true today and last week and four months ago," Clemmensen said. "I want to be a Panther. I'm just glad we were able to reach a deal and I'm able to remain a Panther. I'm very excited about it."

Panthers general manager Dale Tallon said the team is still aiming to add offense, but was satisfied with Sunday's work.

"They are hockey moves, solid hockey moves with guys that wanted to come here," Tallon said. "We solidified our goaltending and our defense and added some grit and toughness to our front line and protected a couple of spots for some of our young guys to come in and make our club. We're still not done. We still have a few things in the fryer right now."

Clemmensen was 14-6-6 in 30 regular-season appearances last season for the Southeast Division champions. He went 1-2 with a 2.35 goals-against average in the playoffs against New Jersey, essentially splitting time in that series with Jose Theodore, who is under contract for one more season but may not be back.

Vancouver is willing to trade goaltender Roberto Luongo - a former Panther who still has many ties to South Florida, along with 10 years left on his contract. The Luongo-to-Florida buzz has been growing steadily for weeks, although Clemmensen said Sunday that he enjoyed working with Theodore this past season when the Panthers snapped a 12-year postseason drought and won their first division title.

"If things change, then obviously you adjust accordingly," Clemmensen said. "But from my side, and my point of view as of right now, I'm not really going to worry about what trades or signings might or might not happen. You play the hand that you're dealt and you play to the best of your ability and you go forward from there."

Kuba was an eighth-round pick by the Panthers 17 years ago and last played for the Panthers on Jan. 6, 2000. He was traded to Calgary in March 2000, then claimed in the expansion draft by Minnesota three months later. Kuba played five seasons with the Wild, two more with Tampa Bay and the last four with Ottawa.

He has 69 goals and 254 assists in 792 NHL games.

"Filip is an experienced player who adds further depth to our blue line," Tallon said. "He is a big, strong and responsible, shutdown defenseman."

Kuba's signing indicates that defenseman Jason Garrison, who had 16 goals and 17 assists for Florida last season, will not be back with the Panthers.

Parros, former Princeton player, has 950 penalty minutes in 413 NHL games, all but 57 of those with the Ducks. Parros - probably best known for his dark, distinctive moustache - wrote on Twitter that he leaves Anaheim with "a heavy heart."

Parros said the Panthers' return to the playoffs last season made him and plenty of other players around the league see Florida differently.

"Florida impressed a lot of people and was on everyone's radar," Parros said. "I think we all saw that. It seems like that they've got a good young team together."

Tallon said the reception he's been getting from free agents have been positive for that reason.

"People are starting to look at us and we've been contacted by a lot of top players," Tallon said. "We're excited about our future."

Also Sunday, the Panthers announced one-year, two-way contracts with center Greg Rallo and goaltender Dov Grumet-Morris - who both played for Florida's AHL club in San Antonio last season - as well as right wing Jon Rheault.

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 252 192 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 221 189 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 262 211 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 242 203 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 252 230 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 235 221 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 238 215 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 221 210 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 213 211 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 206 223 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 236 250 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 215 234 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 181 216 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 188 226 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 211 262 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 161 274 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Huberdeau 79 15 39 10 54
J. Jokinen 81 8 36 -2 44
N. Bjugstad 72 24 19 -7 43
A. Ekblad 81 12 27 12 39
B. Boyes 78 14 24 11 38
A. Barkov 71 16 20 -4 36
J. Hayes 72 19 16 -4 35
B. Campbell 82 3 24 4 27
B. Pirri 49 22 2 6 24
D. Bolland 53 6 17 4 23
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 28 19 12 .921 2.35
A. Montoya 6 7 2 .892 3.01
 
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