Friday, July 02, 2010

Panthers Sign Higgins

The Panthers have made one signing on Friday, finally stopping by the free agent marketplace and picking someone out. Florida signed forward Christopher Higgins to a new 1-year deal worth $1.6 million, taking him out of Calgary and putting him into a new re-tooling situation in Miami. Higgins should bring some size to the team, some of what has been lost up front with the trade that sent Nathan Horton out of town.

In 2010, Higgins split time between New York and Calgary, being dealt at the deadline in the same deal that saw Olli Jokinen go to the Big Apple.  In 67 games, Higgins posted 8 goals and 9 assists, which are not great numbers for a power forward like himself, but the Panthers see something in him that could possibly produce some offense.

Stephen WeissBryan McCabeTomas Vokoun
Michal FrolikDennis WidemanScott Clemmensen
Steve ReinprechtDimitri Kulikov
Cory StillmanBryan Allen
Radek Dvorak
Rostislav Olesz
Steve Bernier
Christopher Higgins
David Booth
Byron Bitz
Michael Grabner

Already the signs of a different Panthers team is very apparent, but the jury will still be out as to whether or not it will be a change for the better or just a 'wait until the prospects are ready and then we'll let'er rip.'  Between Weiss, Stillman and Booth, the Panthers might be in decent shape, not to mention the addition of Wideman to replace Ballard; that should work out just fine.

Salary CapThe salary cap situation for the Panthers is a pretty good one going into the 2011 season, having 17 players already signed on for an approximate annual cap hit of $44.6 million.  They have already cleared themselves of the salary cap floor, so they could in theory just add a few prospects and run right into the 2011 season, but that's still a tad premature.  I would imagine that the Panthers will be looking to sign a few more 1-year deals with some depth players, mostly defensemen and that would really round out their Summer. 

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