Mike Halford

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Florida adds to crowded front office, promotes Mahovlich

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Plenty of cooks in the Panthers kitchen these days.

On Thursday, the Panthers announced they promoted longtime scout and ex-NHLer Peter Mahovlich to a special advisor to ownership role.

“I am thrilled to expand Peter’s role,” owner Vincent Viola said in a release. “Peter is highly respected within our organization and with his peers around the league. His wealth of experience and knowledge from his years as a player, coach and scout are tremendous assets for our organization.”

The Mahovlich move comes after the Panthers ‘promoted’ former general manager Dale Tallon to his current president of hockey ops role. Tom Rowe moved into the GM role, and will oversee a more analytics-based staff of AGMs Eric Joyce and Steve Werier.

(The club also has a director of hockey analytics on staff — Brian MacDonald.)

Oh, and don’t forget the Panthers still employ Bill Torrey as a special advisor to the GM, and Rory Babich as the club’s other special advisor to ownership.

It’ll be awfully interesting to see how this all plays out in Sunrise.

The Panthers are coming off the most successful regular season in franchise history and a long-awaited return to the playoffs, and have already made two fairly noteworthy moves this offseason — first, trading defenseman Erik Gudbranson to Vancouver for prospect Jared McCann, then shipping out the contract of Marc Savard to New Jersey, giving the Panthers some major cap relief.

Related: People are wondering — do the Florida Panthers know what they’re doing?

Hurricanes re-sign ‘high-character’ Ryan — one year, $600,000

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Carolina has re-upped with veteran forward Derek Ryan on a one-year, two-way deal worth $600,000 at the NHL level, the club announced on Thursday.

“Derek is a high-character, veteran player who has contributed offensively at every level he has played,” GM Ron Francis said in a release. “He was a leader for Charlotte last season and played well when called up to the Hurricanes.”

Ryan, a journeyman that garnered headlines last season for making his NHL debut at age 29, scored two goals in six games for the ‘Canes, spending most of his time in AHL Charlotte, where he had 55 points in 70 games.

Prior to that, he was a bit of a hockey nomad.

Ryan played junior in WHL Spokane — where he was coached by current Carolina bench boss Bill Peters — then had stops in Kalamazoo (of the now-defunct United Hockey League), a four-year stint at the University of Alberta, three years in the Austrian League and, in ’14-15, a terrific campaign in Sweden.

With Orebro, Ryan scored a whopping 80 points in 55 games en route to capturing SHL Forward of the Year and Most Valuable Player awards.

He parlayed that into a one-year, two-way deal with the ‘Canes.

Earlier this month, we passed along a report that Ryan was considering a move back to Europe — Switzerland, specifically.

In an interview with Swedish news outlet Expressen, Ryan and his agent discussed the possibility of signing in the Swiss National League “A” should he not receive an NHL contract for next season.

Get to know a draft pick — Patrik Laine

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Like we’ve done in the past, we’re profiling top prospects who may hear their names called in the first round of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft.

But this year, something new — we’re featuring special guest analysis from Ryan Kennedy, associate senior writer and prospect expert at The Hockey News.

Patrik Laine (RW)

Height: 6-foot-4 Weight: 206 pounds Shoots: Right

Team: Tappara Tampere (Finland)

Country: Finland

NHL Central Scouting ranking: No. 2 European skater

Kennedy says: “It’s a huge weight to put the mantle of ‘The Next Alex Ovechkin‘ on a teenager, but it’s also really tough downplaying how Laine has soared this season.

“The Ovechkin comps are obvious: big-time shooter who loves to run guys over and also happens to be a fun interview. And really, someone has to be the next big, powerful sniper in the NHL.

“Laine’s season included a gold medal at the world juniors, a Finnish Liiga championship and silver at the World Championship, where he was also named MVP.

“He is incredibly fun to watch and will definitely be ready for an NHL slot immediately.”

Related: Not lacking confidence, Laine’s goal is to be drafted No. 1

Click here for all the 2016 NHL Draft profiles.

Chicago stays busy and re-signs Panik, who they believe can be ‘a dominant player’

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Quite the day in the Windy City.

Not long after a noteworthy trade — sending Bryan Bickell and Teuvo Teravainen to Carolina — the Blackhawks announced they re-signed Richard Panik to a one-year deal.

Financial terms have yet to be disclosed.

Panik, 25, was acquired in a mid-season deal with Toronto and fared well upon joining the ‘Hawks, scoring eight points in 30 regular season games, and three in six playoff contests.

Based on GM Stan Bowman’s comments last month, it was clear Chicago valued Panik and wanted to keep him in the fold.

“Can play right wing or left wing, and he’s played on the first line, third line, fourth line because he’s got some versatility to his game, which is what we like,” Bowman explained, to the Athletic. “He’s got a great skill set. He’s fast. He’s strong. He’s competitive. He’s physical. So now we’re just looking for him to put it all together on a consistent basis.

“Because when he brings his best game, he’s a dominant player.”

Panik showed flashes of his potential late in the campaign and again in the postseason. He benefited from being thrown into a good situation on a line with Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, a trio Joel Quenneville went to a few times in the playoffs.

It’s probably worth noting Panik, who was set to become a restricted free agent, had an uptick at the tail end of a contract year. His one-year, $975,000 deal was set to expire on July 1.

Video: Crosby parades Cup through Pittsburgh streets

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Electric atmosphere in the Steel City on Wednesday, as Penguins captain Sidney Crosby rode through the streets with Lord Stanley’s Mug on display.

This marks the second time in Crosby’s career he’s paraded the Stanley Cup through Pittsburgh, and the fourth time it’s happened in franchise history.

It’s worth noting that this most recent championship puts the Penguins on par with the New York Rangers — one of the NHL’s original six teams — in terms of Stanley Cups won.

More from the Pens’ Stanley Cup parade:

Schultz: ‘It still hasn’t sunk in — it’s awesome’ to win Stanley Cup

‘Dream come true’ for Bonino