Lyon Hockey

2022 Florida Panthers Free Agency Recap

We are just under a month away from the 2022 NHL free agency period and about a month and a half away from the start of the season. As teams wind down their offseason activities and begin to assess what their squad will look like for the 2022-23 season, now seems like a good time to look back on what the Florida Panthers have been up to. present this offseason.

Panther forwards

The biggest move the Panthers made during free agency was not a free agent signing but a trade. They sent Jonathan Huberdeau, MacKenzie Weegar, Cole Schwindt and a 2025 lottery-protected first-round pick to the Calgary Flames for Matthew Tkachuk and a conditional fourth-round pick. The Panthers then signed Tkachuk to an eight-year, $76 million contract extension.

The Panthers’ offseason was marked by their trade with star Matthew Tkachuk (Amy Irvin/The Hockey Writers)

Florida lost a star with Huberdeau, 29, who had a career-high 115 points (30 goals, 85 assists) last season, but they gained a younger star with Tkachuk, 24, who had a career-high 104 points (42 goals, 62 assists) in 2021-22, and he will position himself on the first line alongside Aleksander Barkov.

The team also lost Claude Giroux, Noel Acciari and Mason Marchment through free agency. To compensate, they added Nick Cousins, Gerry Mayhew, Chris Tierney, Colin White and Rudolfs Balcers to the attacking group. Of those six players, the players who saw the most action last season were the Balcers, 25, who scored 23 points (11 goals, 12 assists) in 61 games with the San Jose Sharks, Tierney, 28 year-old, who had 18 points (six goals, 12 assists) in 70 games with the Ottawa Senators, and Cousins, 29, who had 22 points (eight goals, 13 assists) in 68 games with the Nashville Predators .

Panthers Defenders

The Panthers lost a solid defenseman in 28-year-old Weegar, who had a career-high 44 points (eight goals, 36 assists) in 80 games last season. They also lost Ben Chiarot, Robert Hagg, Markus Nutivaara and Chase Priskie through free agency. However, they signed Marc Staal, Michael Del Zotto and Anthony Bitetto.

Marc Staal Detroit Red Wings
The Panthers added experience and depth to Marc Staal (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Staal, 35, has more than 1,000 NHL games experience, including 71 with the Detroit Red Wings last season. He finished the campaign with 16 points (three goals, 13 assists). Del Zotto, 32, has 736 NHL games under his belt, including 26 last season with the Senators, finishing with 13 points (three goals, 10 assists). Bitetto, 32, has played 197 NHL games, including 14 last year with the New York Rangers.

Panthers Goaltenders

The Panthers are in net with 33-year-old Sergei Bobrovsky and 21-year-old Spencer Knight, but they lost Jonas Johansson through free agency and signed Alex Lyon. The 29-year-old has played 24 career NHL games, including two with the Carolina Hurricanes last season. He is 7-7-3 with a 3.18 goals-against average (GAA) and 0.895 save percentage (SV%).

Carolina Hurricanes Alex Lyon
The Panthers have signed Clader Cup winner Alex Lyon (Gregg Forwerck/Carolina Hurricanes)

However, Lyon went 18-7-3, 2.16 GAA and 0.912 SV% in 30 regular season games, and 9-3 and 0.923 SV% in 12 playoff games for the Chicago Wolves of the American Hockey League, which won the league regular season title and the Calder Cup as league champions in 2021-22.

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Other than the successful trade for Tkachuk and the hiring of new head coach Paul Maurice, the Panthers have been pretty quiet this offseason, mostly making deep signings to a team that hasn’t lost much after the title-winning performance of the last season’s presidents trophy. They’re hoping Tkachuk will be the key to helping them win their first-ever Stanley Cup.