Panthers Start Free Agency Fast

MIAMI (CBS4) – The NBA started their lockout Thursday night and the NFL lockout is over 100 days old. But there’s still major news about one South Florida franchise whose league is still in business.

The Florida Panthers started the day more than $20 million below the NHL’s salary cap floor and when the clock struck noon, Panthers general manager Dale Tallon came out swinging to try to help rebuild the moribund franchise.

The Panthers announced Friday they had signed goalie Jose Theodore, left winger Scottie Upshall, and five-time all-star defenseman Ed Jovanoski to contracts. Theodore got a two-year-deal while Jovanoski and Upshall got four year deals.

The Panthers also signed center Marcel Goc to a three-year-contract. The 27-year-old veteran has played for both the Nashville Predaors and San Jose Sharks. Goc also has played in 43 postseason games and was the 20th pick in the 2011 NHL Draft.

With Theodore in tow, the Panthers haven’t addressed if they will re-sign last year’s goalie, Tomas Vokoun, who became an unrestricted free agent. In a separate move, the Panthers had previously acquired right wingers Tomas Kopecky from the Chicago Blackhawks.

All of the moves are to add a combination of youth and veteran experience to a team in desperation mode after years of futility.

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