Report: Panthers, O’Brien talking contract

The Florida Panthers and free agent defenseman Shane O’Brien are in the midst of contract talks according to ESPN’s Katie Strang.

Strang reports that Panthers GM Dale Tallon had discussions with the agent representing O’Brien on Saturday and expects talks to continue Sunday.

O’Brien, 31, was invited to Panthers’ camp on a professional tryout and survived the team’s latest cuts on Friday.

“I feel like I’m part of the team already,” O’Brien told the Florida Sun Sentinel. “So it’d be disappointing if I wasn’t here.”

Originally an eighth-round selection of the Anaheim Ducks in 2003, O’Brien was sent to the Abbotsford Heat of the American Hockey League last season by the Calgary Flames.

In 528 career NHL games with the Ducks, Lightning, Canucks, Predators, Avalanche and Flames, O’Brien has 13 goals and 91 points.

O’Brien, who saw his three-year $6 million contract expire in July, didn’t sound too excited at the idea of signing a tw0-way contract.

“I still feel like I’m an NHL player,” said O’Brien. “I feel like I’ve had a good enough camp to be here. I’m a good team guy and fit into the chemistry of this room well. I take pride in playing hard every night and I think I’ve proven that, and will continue to prove that.”

The blue liner could be a consolation prize for the Panthers, who were reportedly in talks to acquire Nick Leddy from the Chicago Blackhawks and Johnny Boychuk from the Boston Bruins. Both Boychuk and Leddy were dealt to the New York Islanders on Saturday.

O’Brien has had issues follow him around the NHL. He had weight issues in Vancouver and wasn’t buying what the Flames were selling in Calgary.

Not sure how many chances the Ontario native has left, but Florida could be his new home soon.

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