The Florida Panthers have done this before. Under the salary floor, they had to spend money and they did so, to the extreme. The Panthers have signed Dave Bolland to a 5 year, $27.5M contract, with a cap hit of $5.5M. That is a lot to pay for a fringe 2nd line/good 3rd line centre with a history of injury troubles. He does have 2 Stanley Cups from his days in Chicago and scored the Cup winner in 2013.
The Panthers didn’t stop there, as they also inked forward Jussi Jokinen to a 4 year, $16M deal. Jokinen is a versatile forward who can play either centre or wing and has been an incredible performer in the shootout over the years, after making his reputation in the league as the first real shootout specialist.
The Panthers also signed former Bruins tough guy Shawn Thornton, who will give them some grit on the fourth line. Thornton signed a 2 year, 2.4M deal.
Florida is a better team than they were yesterday, but it remains to be seen if they will be able to be playoff contenders, but at the very least they are among the rising teams in the eastern conference that will be a challenge for teams to get past.