The Florida Panthers will be heading into training camp next week with somewhat of a logjam between the pipes. Joining incumbent Roberto Luongo are June trade acquisition Reto Berra and free agent signing James Reimer. At the time Berra was acquired, it was expected that he would replace Al Montoya (who later signed with Montreal) as their backup goalie.
Their decision to pursue Reimer caught many by surprise, including Reimer himself. Speaking with George Richards of the Miami Herald, Reimer commented on his initial surprise when he was approached by the Panthers shortly after their acquisition of Berra:
“I didn’t know what their intention was. They called, and we got to talking and there was interest there. We pursued it, and it looks like a good fit.”
As it turns out, GM Tom Rowe was viewing Berra (who actually played in two more games in the AHL last year, 16 AHL to 14 NHL games) primarily as an insurance policy for Luongo as it was unknown if he would be ready to start the season following offseason hip surgery. However, the 37 year old has been skating for a month and appears to be on track to start Florida’s season opener on October 13th.
If that is the case, the Panthers plan to try to send Berra to the minors. He will have to pass through waivers to get there and if he clears, he will still partly count against Florida’s salary cap to the tune of $500K (his cap hit of $1.45MM minus [$375K plus the minimum salary of $575K]).
More from the Atlantic:
- After being bought out by Carolina in late June, James Wisniewski was targeting two teams in free agency. One of those teams was Tampa Bay, he told Bryan Burns on the Lightning’s website. Wisniewski played only a single game last season with Carolina as he tore his ACL on his first and only shift with the team and signed a PTO with the Bolts last month. However, he’s only two years removed from a 51 point season with Columbus and could be a low risk, high reward pickup if he’s able to make the opening night roster.
- While he expressed a desire to return to Montreal earlier this offseason, the Canadiens do not have interest in signing free agent left winger Alex Tanguay, Richard Labbe of La Presse reports (link in French). Tanguay played one season for his hometown team back in 2008-09. He’s the highest remaining point getter among UFA’s after putting up 35 points in 70 games with Colorado and Arizona last season. It was reported earlier this month that Tanguay has a handful of tryout offers on the table but that he is still seeking a guaranteed deal.