Tag: Ed Jovanovski


Panthers sign veteran d-man Zanon


The Florida Panthers added some veteran experience on defense Tuesday, signing Greg Zanon to a one-year, two-way deal.

Zanon, 34, spent last season with Florida’s AHL affiliate in San Antonio. It marked a bit of a fall from grace — prior to that, Zanon had appeared in 44 of 48 games for Colorado during the lockout-shortened ’13 campaign and, from 2008-11, played in 245 of 246 games for the Predators and Wild.

All told, Zanon has nearly 500 games of NHL experience and 18 more in the playoffs. He’ll be looking to crack the Panthers lineup out of training camp and his experience could prove useful — with former captain Ed Jovanovski bought out of his contract, Florida now just has a pair of vets on defense (35-year-old Brian Campbell and 37-year-old Willie Mitchell) to go along with the kiddie corps: Erik Gudbranson (22), Alex Petrovic (22) Dylan Olsen (23) Colby Robak (24) and 18-year-old Aaron Ekblad, the first overall pick at the 2014 NHL Entry Draft.


Florida inks Mitchell — two years, $8.5M — another 2x Cup winner


The Florida Panthers added another veteran with Stanley Cup pedigree on Tuesday afternoon, agreeing to terms with ex-Kings defenseman Willie Mitchell on a two-year, $8.5 million deal.

Mitchell, who won two Cups in Los Angeles, signified a trend for Florida — the deal came just hours after Panthers GM Dale Tallon brought aboard center Dave Bolland, who captured a pair of championships during his time in Chicago; Tallon also signed former Boston tough guy Shawn Thornton, who won Cups with the Bruins and Ducks.

As for Mitchell, the 37-year-old wasn’t out of work for long after Los Angeles decided to pass on his services. The club let Mitchell walk despite all he brought to the table — two years ago, he scored a career-high 24 points and averaged 25:19 TOI in the playoffs as the Kings won their first ever Cup; after missing the entire 2013 campaign with knee issues, Mitchell returned this season and was a regular fixture on the L.A. blueline, playing more than 20 minutes a night during the regular season before upping that to 22:20 in the playoffs (despite missing eight games with an undisclosed injury.)

In Florida, he’ll get a nice raise and be the veteran presence (presumably) replacing Ed Jovanovski, who was bought out of the final year of his contract.  Mitchell, along with 35-year-old Brian Campbell, will be the resident greybeards on a blueline that features Erik Gudbranson (22), Dmitry Kulikov (23), Dylan Olsen (23), Alex Petrovic (22), Colby Robak (24) and 18-year-old Aaron Ekblad, the first overall pick at the 2014 NHL Entry Draft.

The move will also reunite Mitchell with ex-Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo. The pair joined Vancouver together in 2006-07 and spent four seasons together as teammates.

Panthers put Jovanovski on waivers to buy him out

Ed Jovanovski

Ed Jovanovski’s time with the Florida Panthers is at an end.

George Richards of the Miami Herald reports the team has put Jovanovski, 38, on waivers for the purpose of buying him out. He has one year left on his contract worth $4.125 million against the cap.

Richards adds the team will likely use a compliance buyout so as to not have his cap hit against their payroll. The Panthers have two compliance buyouts to use.

Jovanovski’s history with the Panthers is long. He was the franchise’s No. 1 overall pick in 1994 and in his rookie season helped lead the Panthers to the Stanley Cup Final against the Colorado Avalanche. He played two different stints with the team over six-and-a-half seasons of his 18 NHL seasons.

At his age and after the production he had last season, you have to wonder if this might be it for “Jovocop.” After spending time in Vancouver and Phoenix as well as Florida, he’s seen a lot of action and had a miraculous comeback from a hip injury that nearly ended his career.

Panthers keep first overall pick, select d-man Ekblad

Barrie Colts v Ottawa 67's

PHILADELPHIA — The Florida Panthers are hoping they’ve found their franchise defenseman. The club used its first overall selection in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft on Aaron Ekblad, the big blueliner from the OHL’s Barrie Colts.

Ekblad, 18, becomes the first defenseman since Erik Johnson (2006) to be taken first overall. One of his new Florida teammates, Ed Jovanovski, was also taken with the first pick, in 1994. The most successful defenseman ever taken first overall was Denis Potvin (1973, Islanders).

It’s possible Ekblad slots right into the Panthers’ lineup next season. There are scouts who think he’s NHL-ready, and Florida may also lose Tom Gilbert to free agency.

Ekblad said earlier this month that he tries to model his game after Nicklas Lidstrom.

“He was a pretty special player,” said Ekblad. “Everyone says he’s a great person off the ice, too, and I think that’s pretty important.”

What does it take to be an elite number-one defenseman like Lidstrom was for the Detroit Red Wings?

“Attention to details,” said Ekblad. “Knowing when to be simple, when to jump into the rush and provide offense. Playing good defense first. Being good on the power play and penalty kill. It takes being an all-around, full-package player. A two-way defenseman.”

There was talk the Panthers could trade the first overall pick, but ultimately general manager Dale Tallon walked up to the stage at Wells Fargo Center and announced Ekblad’s name.

Related: Get to know a draft pick — Aaron Ekblad

Florida wins ’14 NHL draft lottery, will pick first overall


A year after losing out on the No. 1 pick, the Florida Panthers flipped the script.

Florida won the 2014 NHL Draft Lottery on Tuesday night, edging out Buffalo for top spot despite the Sabres holding superior odds for the first overall pick. Last year, the Panthers were on the other end of this scenario — they lost out on the first pick to Colorado, who jumped up from No. 2 and selected this year’s likely Calder Trophy winner, Nathan MacKinnon.

Travis Viola, the Panthers’ VP of Hockey Operations, was on hand for the decision. When put on the spot by TSN’s James Duthie as to who the club might select, Viola declined comment.

This will mark the second time in Panthers history that they’ve selected first overall. In 1994, the club took Ed Jovanovski with the No. 1 pick — Jovanovski, now 37, is the club’s current captain.

As for the remainder of the picks, here is the draft order and lottery result in full:

1st: Florida Panthers (moved up one spot)

2nd: Buffalo Sabres (moved down one spot)

3rd: Edmonton Oilers (retained)

4th: Calgary Flames (retained)

5th: New York Islanders (retained)

6th: Vancouver (retained)

7th: Carolina (retained)

8th: Toronto (retained)

9th: Winnipeg (retained)

10th: Anaheim (retained)

11th: Nashville (retained)

12th: Phoenix Coyotes (retained)

13th: Washington Capitals (retained)

New Jersey, who was part of the draft lottery, wasn’t eligible to get a top-14 pick due to punishment from the Ilya Kovalchuk contract situation. The Devils will draft 30th overall, the final pick of the opening round.

While there’s no consensus No.1 overall pick, draft pundits have identified a trio of players that’ll likely vie for the spot: OHL Barrie defenseman Aaron Ekblad, WHL Kootenay forward Sam Reinhart and OHL Kingston forward Sam Bennett, who finished atop the final NHL Central Scouting rankings for the ’14 draft. Leon Draisaitl, Michael Dal Colle, Nick Ritchie, Nikolaj Ehlers, Jake Virtanen, Kasperi Kapanen and Haydn Fleury are considered other potential top-10 picks.

One thing to note: New York, awarded the fifth overall pick, must now make a decision to forward it to Buffalo as part of the Thomas Vanek trade, or retain it and send a 2015 first-rounder to the Sabres. Islanders head scout Trent Klatt, who was on hand at the lottery, said the team had yet to make up its mind as to which pick it’ll send.