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Going For Quality Over Quantity

A far cry from a year ago, Panthers add three regulars to a roster that won first Division championship in franchise history on Day 1 of Free Agency

Sunday, 07.1.2012 / 8:34 PM ET / News
By Glenn Odebralski  - FloridaPanthers.com
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Going For Quality Over Quantity
The Panthers added two "outsiders" to their main roster, signing forward George Parros and defenseman Filip Kuba (above) on the first day of free agency (Getty Images)

It’s amazing how much difference a year makes.

If one were looking for the Panthers to be as busy as they were last July 1st, then they would be surely disappointed. But thanks to last summer’s signing and trading frenzy, Florida didn’t have to be.

365 days following a day that saw the Panthers add eight new players to their roster (one via trade) on the first day of free agency, Florida wasn’t as busy in terms of quantity but focused on quality instead. The club resigned three of their own and dipped their feet into the free agency pool for another three once noon hit.

Three of the players signed will bring organizational depth and most likely play in San Antonio.

“They’re hockey moves,” said Panthers GM Dale Tallon wrapping up Day 1 of Free Agency. “Solid hockey moves with guys that wanted to come here. We solidified our goaltending and our defense and added some grit and toughness to our front line.”

With 16 players under contract already, Tallon was focused more on adding while leaving space for young players such as Jonathan Huberdeau and Quinton Howden to make the jump from juniors or other lower leagues.

“We’re trying to get better every day. Sticking to our blueprint and allowing an opportunity with a strong group of veteran guys to allow your young guys to fit in when they’re ready,” said Tallon.

The Panthers got the ball rolling just before noon hit as they re-signed goaltender Scott Clemmensen to a two-year deal and restocked some of the organizational depth in the resigning of center Greg Rallo and goaltender Dov Grumet-Morris to one-year deals.

It was really a no brainer to both parties in bringing back the popular netminder. Clemmensen had his best season with the franchise since signing a three-year deal back on July 1, 2009. He posted a 14-6-6 record with a .913 SV% and a 2.57 GAA in 30 games.

“I really enjoyed my time in Florida. I said it at the end of the year and it still holds true. I want to be a Panther,” said Clemmensen. “Florida was right at the top of my list…For me it was very important to go to a team that I want to be on.”

“Our goaltending was a real strong suit last year,” said Tallon. “All three of them (with Jose Theodore and Jacob Markstrom) work well together and they were solid for us last year.”

With the impending departure of Jason Garrison, who signed Sunday night in Vancouver, Florida took care of shoring up their blueline in bringing back a former Panther as they inked Filip Kuba to a two-year deal. Kuba, who recorded 32 points while playing with Ottawa this past season, was an eighth-round pick of the Panthers back in 1995 and spent his first two seasons with the franchise before playing for Minnesota and Tampa Bay before suiting up for the Senators.

“We’re happy with Filip,” said Tallon. “He’s a good player. He’s got a history with some of our guys…He’s a solid two-way player with a big shot from the point. We kept our solid defense in place with his acquisition.”

In what can be seen as the two-for day, the Panthers once again signed a player to a two-year contract, inking enforcer George Parros. The former Duck brings a lot of passion to South Florida and isn’t afraid to stick up for his teammates as he holds Anaheim’s record for penalty minutes with 812.

George Parros

Becoming A Destination

Tim Reynolds - Associated Press
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.

Dale Tallon Conference Call
Scott Clemmensen Conference Call
George Parros Conference Call
Panthers Sign RW Jon Rheault
Panthers Sign RW George Parros
Panthers Sign D Filip Kuba
Panthers Sign C Greg Rallo And G Dov Grumet-Morris
Panthers Sign G Scott Clemmensen

“The Panthers showed a lot of interest early on,” said Parros on a conference call following the signing. “They expressed a great desire to have a guy like me in the locker room. With the coaching situation and all the talks that I had with everyone, I had a chance to play and contribute.

They had a great season last year. I’m excited to be a part of that.”

“We figure we are going to add some young guys to our lineup and George has a history of being a real positive influence on those guys on and off the ice,” said Tallon. “He’s got good experience, a hard-nosed guy that works hard in practice and is a good model for our young guys and will really add some leadership in the locker room.”

Florida added a third forward to the organization as they signed Jon Rheault to a one-year contract.

What Tallon noticed about the day was that it was a far cry from years past. This year, it was the Panthers that were receiving the calls from players trying to come to South Florida.

“We got a lot of phone calls from a lot of different people at different positions and some big name players,” said Tallon. “We talked to a lot of people and it’s very positive. People are starting to look at us…We’re making this a relevant market place.”

The players that signed noticed the change in culture as well.

“Being out west for so long, you’re not around teams, especially in that division,” said Parros. “Certainly this past year I think Florida impressed a lot of people and was on everyone’s radar, given what they had done this year. We all saw that. It seems like they have a good young team together.”

“Last summer was a big step for this franchise in terms of what direction it is heading in,” said Clemmensen. “That’s something that myself and hopefully others see and understand that this team is committed to contending and it’s very exciting to see it and be a part of.”

And even though the Panthers came to agreement on contracts with three regulars, it doesn’t mean that they’re done in free agency. While still giving a chance for their young guns to make the team out of training camp, there’s always a possibility to add. Tallon is known for tinkering with his roster, whether it be July 1st or August 15th or even November 28th.

“We’re still not done yet. We have a long summer ahead of us. We’ll see what happens,” said Tallon.




1 x - NYR 73 47 19 7 224 168 101
2 MTL 75 46 21 8 197 167 100
3 TBL 75 46 22 7 244 194 99
4 NYI 75 44 26 5 228 208 93
5 PIT 74 40 23 11 204 186 91
6 DET 73 39 22 12 212 201 90
7 WSH 74 40 24 10 215 182 90
8 OTT 73 37 25 11 213 195 85
9 BOS 74 36 25 13 195 193 85
10 FLA 74 34 26 14 184 202 82
11 PHI 75 30 29 16 196 216 76
12 NJD 74 31 31 12 166 189 74
13 CBJ 73 34 35 4 198 228 72
14 CAR 73 27 36 10 170 201 64
15 TOR 75 27 42 6 194 241 60
16 BUF 74 20 46 8 141 249 48


J. Huberdeau 71 13 32 7 45
N. Bjugstad 72 24 19 -7 43
J. Jokinen 73 7 33 -1 40
J. Jagr 69 13 25 -4 38
B. Boyes 72 12 23 10 35
A. Ekblad 73 11 24 10 35
J. Hayes 64 18 13 -4 31
A. Barkov 63 12 17 -2 29
B. Campbell 74 3 21 1 24
B. Pirri 41 20 2 5 22
R. Luongo 26 17 11 .922 2.32
A. Montoya 5 7 2 .888 3.08
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