Today marked another long-term extension for the Panthers, as the team locked up 25-year old Reilly Smith for another five seasons. It’s the latest in a series of big moves the Panthers have done as they build their team to compete for the short and long term. In a series of tweets, play-by-play announcer and Fox Sports Florida reporter Steve Goldstein gives us some insight into the rest of their summer:
- Assistant captain Derek MacKenzie is currently an unrestricted free agent but seems destined to head back to Florida at some point. Goldstein describes it as a formality, and expects him to be around for the next few seasons. MacKenzie is regarded highly in the Panther dressing room, and provides some toughness to their bottom six.
- Newly signed goaltender James Reimer may play in as many as 35 games this season even without an injury to starter Roberto Luongo. With Luongo’s advanced age, the team will look to protect him for a long playoff run. Reimer signed for five seasons and is expected to take the reins at some point down the road.
- GM Tom Rowe expects to get a long-term extension done at some point with forward Jonathan Huberdeau. The former third overall pick represents the last of the young group Florida has built, and due to some savvy cap management, the team will have money for him going forward. Huberdeau scored 20 goals and tied for third on the team in points last season with 59.