Panthers captain Jovanovski questionable to start season

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The Florida Panthers might be without their oldest player to start the 2013-14 campaign.

“[Ed Jovanovski], we don’t know for sure if he’s going to be ready for the season,” Panthers GM Dale Tallon said, as per NHL.com. “But he’ll be ready soon.”

Jovanovski, 37, only played in six games last year while dealing with knee and hip injuries. He underwent season-ending surgery to correct the latter in April, and was off skates until early July.

Though he’s reportedly pain-free, one wonders what kind of shape the Panthers captain will be in once he resumes playing.

Last year’s injuries were serious enough for some to ponder if his career was in jeopardy. Panthers head coach Kevin Dineen was reluctant to address the idea — “that’s a hard comment for me right now,” he said in late March — but it’s clear Jovanovski has some serious health concerns.

Retirement, though, may not be an option.

Jovanovski signed his four-year, $16.5 million deal with the Panthers at the age of 35, meaning Florida is on the hook for the entirety of his contract.

It’s shaping up to be one of the poorest contract decisions of Dale Tallon’s GM tenure in Florida.

While the Panthers were high on Jovanovski’s veteran presence and leadership abilities, he’s now missed 58 of 130 games since joining the Panthers and has only mustered 3G-11A-14PTS in 72 games over two years.