Shortly after agreeing to an extension with the Panthers, Dale Tallon got down to business.
In a conference call, the Florida GM announced he was in the process of trying to retain four key free agents: Kris Versteeg, Scott Clemmensen, Jason Garrison and Mikael Samuelsson.
Versteeg, 26, is coming off career highs in goals (23) and points (54). The impending RFA was third on the team in scoring while averaging nearly 20 minutes per game, so it was no surprise to learn Tallon had already made an offer. Versteeg’s last deal was a three-year, $9.25 million contract ($3.08 million annually).
Tallon also made an offer to Clemmensen, which is noteworthy on two fronts. One, as pointed out by the Sun Sentinel, it would suggest that highly-touted prospect Jacob Markstrom will tend goal for another year in AHL San Antonio (Jose Theodore has one year left on his deal.)
Two, if Clemmensen accepts, it takes another potential UFA goalie off the market, which was already thin to begin with.
Garrison, 27, enjoyed a breakout campaign in 2011-12. He scored 16 goals — a Florida franchise record for defensemen, third-most in the NHL — and a career-high 33 points while playing over 23 minutes a night. That’s set him up for a big raise on the $675,000 he made last season, so it’ll be interesting to see what kind of package Tallon puts together (the Sun Sentinel said Tallon is “close” to making an offer for Garrison.)
An offer is reportedly close for Samuelsson as well. The 35-year-old was acquired from Vancouver last October in the David Booth trade and, despite back and groin injuries, had a productive season — 28 points in 48 games, five in seven playoff contests. Samuelsson’s in the final year of a deal that paid $7.5 million over three years.