Major development concerning two of the Panthers' biggest players
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Major development concerning two of the Panthers' biggest players

NHL insider Kevin Weekes with a huge scoop!



This just in, ESPN NHL insider Kevin Weekes is reporting that the Florida Panthers are actively working to re-sign pending unrestricted free agent defensemen Brandon Montour and Gustav Forsling.

Check it out:

**Keep an eye 👁️ on**
I’m told the @FlaPanthers are actively working to re-sign 2 of their Top 4 Defensemen that helped them reach the @StanleyCup Final in Montour & Forsling. #HockeyTwitter

- Kevin Weekes

Montour, of course, has yet to play a game this season as he's still recovery from an offseason shoulder surgery. Forsling though has one goal and a +5 rating inn seven games to start the season. 

Both defenders are pending free agents with Montour coming off a three year $10.5 million deal and Forsling coming off a three year $8 million deal. Both players are due size-able raises but the Panthers are actually capped out at the moment. For a team that typically hasn't had to worry about the NHL's upper salary cap limit, the Panthers now suddenly find themselves in a tough position.

Captain Aleksander Barkov has $10 million a season on a long term deal, veteran goalie Sergei Bobrovsky is earning $10 million per season for three more years, superstar forward Matthew Tkachuk makes $9.5 million on a long-term deal, and #1 defenseman Aaron Ekblad is still pulling in $7.5 million for two more years. The big money contracts are starting to pile up in South Florida, so it'll be interesting to see how GM Bill Zito approaches negotiations for both Montour and Forsling. Besides Ekblad and free agent acquisition Niko Mikkola, the Panthers don't have any defensemen signed beyond this season. Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Dmitry Kulikov, Mike Reilly and Josh Mahura are all on one year deals at relatively low value. So, it's not like the Panthers are waiting for money to come off the books. In fact, the only other big money player playing out the final year of his deal on the team is forward Sam Reinhart. I can imagine that he's a high priority for the team to sign, as well.

Any way you look at it, Zito is going to have to be awfully clever to get everyone to remain with the team.

Source: Kevin Weekes