Player News - Panthers

Date: Team: Pos:

Al Montoya, recently acquired by the Panthers to back up goalie Roberto Luongo, is encouraging members of Florida's Cuban community to show up to NHL games.

The hope from the Panthers front office is that Montoya — who's coming off the best statistical season (with Winnipeg) of his five-year NHL career — will provide better insurance in net than Dan Ellis behind Luongo, and that his arrival will help attract some of the approximately 850,000 Cuban-Americans in the area to the BB&T Center. Montoya is trying his best. He is quoted in the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel as saying: "This is a very cool experience, not only on a hockey level, but a bigger level than that. [Cubans] should come out to see a hockey game. It's an unbelievable sport, and we're a team that's going to give its all. Once you taste a piece of it, you'll keep coming back."
Jul 26 - 9:53 AM

Al Montoya wants to do more than just give Roberto Luongo the occasional night off.

"The coach and the team knows what I'm capable of and when I'm called, I'm going out there to win games," Montoya said. He had a 2.30 GAA and .920 save percentage in 28 games last season, but he feels his best hockey is still ahead of him. Montoya is a great backup goaltender, but Luongo isn't in any danger of losing the starting job. Assuming Luongo stays healthy, Montoya can't be counted to get more than 25 starts in 2014-15.
Jul 22 - 10:44 PM

Al Montoya is familiar with the Miami area as he has plenty of family in the region that he regularly visits.

Montoya is a Cuban-American who was born and raised in Chicago. "I was blessed with a gift and the Cuban people are a motivated bunch, a passionate bunch," Montoya said. "I'm just lucky enough to where I have an arena to show off my American dream. It doesn't matter where you come from or where you've been. Everyone can play hockey. Like I said, the Cuban people are very passionate. Once they figure out what the game is like, it's tough to let go." He signed a two-year, $2.1 million contract with the Panthers to serve as Roberto Luongo's backup.
Jul 22 - 9:42 AM

Florida general manager Dale Tallon sees offensive defenseman MacKenzie Weegar running the Panthers' power play sooner or later.

Weegar scored 103 points in 123 games in his two seasons with the Halifax Mooseheads of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. Although Weegar has made strides, recent events suggest he might have to wait a while to become part of the Panthers' plans. The team re-signed Dmitry Kulikov and Dylan Olsen recently. Erik Gudbranson was just given a two-year deal while veterans such as Brian Campbell and the recently acquired Willie Mitchell are expected to lead the group. Once No. 1 pick Aaron Ekblad is signed, the Panthers could conceivably have their six defensemen wrapped up before training camp starts in a few months. "I think I was a little bit more positionally sound," said Weegar, 20, who was the Panthers' last pick in the 2013 NHL Draft. "There are still a lot more things to improve on. I haven't skated much this summer. We still have a few more months left before the big camp and I'll show up better."
Jul 20 - 11:10 AM

Dmitry Kulikov has signed a three-year, $13 million contract extension with the Florida Panthers.

Kulikov was a restricted free agent after completing his two-year, $5 million deal. He had 19 points and 66 penalty minutes in 81 games last season. The Panthers were one of the worst teams offensively last season and while they won't be great in 2014-15, they should at least approach the level of mediocrity and that will help Kulikov reach the 25-point mark for the third time in his career.
Jul 18 - 12:31 PM

Brandon Pirri has agreed to a two-year extension with the Florida Panthers.

The Panthers acquired Pirri from Chicago in March in exchange for a third round pick and a fifth round selection. He had 13 goals and 25 points in 49 games between the two teams last season.
Jul 16 - 1:52 PM

The Florida Panthers have signed Dylan Olsen to a two-year contract extension.

Olsen was a restricted free agent after completing his entry-level contract. He had three goals and 12 points in 44 games in 2013-14.
Jul 14 - 8:22 PM

The Florida Panthers have signed Garrett Wilson to a one-year, two-way contract.

Wilson had 30 points and 58 penalty minutes in 71 AHL games last season. He also played in three games with Florida, but he didn't accumulate any points or penalty minutes.
Jul 14 - 8:21 PM

Ryan Martindale has agreed to a one-year, two-way deal with the Florida Panthers.

Martindale has eight goals and 24 points in 59 AHL games last season. He was acquired by the Panthers from Edmonton in January in exchange for Steve Pinizzotto.
Jul 14 - 8:19 PM

Michael Matheson plans to return to Boston College for the 2014-15 campaign.

Matheson had three goals and 21 points in 38 NCAA games in 2013-14. Florida took him with the 23rd overall pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.
Jul 14 - 9:43 AM

Kyle Rau plans to remain in the NCAA for the 2014-15 campaign so that he can complete his degree with the University of Minnesota.

Rau had 14 goals and 40 points in 41 NCAA games last season. The Florida Panthers took him in the third round of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. "I want to get my education and we're going to have a good team next year so that played a part," said Rau. "People may say I'm nuts for not coming to the [Panthers] now, but I look forward to possibly signing here a year from now."
Jul 14 - 9:41 AM

Aleksander Barkov took the final two days of the Florida Panthers' recent development camp off, as GM Dale Tallon said he doesn't want to take any risks with the team's future star center.

Barkov missed the final two months of last season after re-injuring his knee at the Winter Olympics. Barkov said his injury continues to heal. "He has nothing to prove to me," Tallon said. "We brought him in just to look at him, evaluate him. He looks good."
Jul 13 - 10:35 AM

The Florida Panthers have signed Erik Gudbranson to a two-year extension.

The financial terms of Gudbranson's agreement weren't immediately known. He had nine points and 114 penalty minutes in 65 games with the Panthers last season. "Erik is an important part of our young core of talented players who we are pleased to have signed," said Panthers GM Dale Tallon. "He is a big, strong and physical defenseman who is one of the building blocks for our team. We look forward to his continued development and his contributions to the South Florida community."
Jul 10 - 11:43 AM

Jimmy Hayes is set to have his arbitration hearing on July 29.

Hayes is coming off of his entry-level contract. He had 11 goals and 18 points in 53 games last season.
Source: TSN.ca
Jul 9 - 4:20 PM

Although he's a long shot, Rocco Grimaldi isn't being ruled out as a contender to make the Panthers' opening game roster.

"He might just be that guy that says, 'You know what? Brendan Gallagher did it in Montreal and I'm not going to San Antonio,'" Panthers director of player development Brian Skrudland said. "It's on him to decide, for him to make the decisions really hard on the coaches in September and October." Grimaldi had 17 goals and 39 points in 42 NCAA games last season. He was taken by Florida with the 33rd overall pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.
Jul 9 - 9:42 AM


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